Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) have identified a Nebraska resident with a positive orthopoxvirus test, which was identified as orthopoxvirus at the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory (NPHL). The specimen is expected to be confirmed as monkeypox by follow up CDC testing. The patient is a male in his 30s with recent international travel. DHHS is working with DCHD and CDC to investigate potential exposures and will notify those individuals if any exposures are identified. To protect the resident’s privacy, DHHS will not be releasing additional details.
“As monkeypox infections are increasingly identified throughout the US and the world, it’s critical we continue searching for it here in Nebraska,” said Dr. Matthew Donahue, Nebraska State Epidemiologist. “Monkeypox is spread through close contact with someone who has a characteristic rash. Nebraskans should be aware of the rash’s appearance, and we need individuals with that characteristic rash to talk to their healthcare providers so we can help arrange testing.”
While monkeypox is not a traditional sexually transmitted infection, it can be transmitted through prolonged physical contact, such as through sexual intimacy. Currently, the outbreak is disproportionately affecting gay and bisexual men who are sexually active. However, anyone with prolonged physical contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk of developing monkeypox.
It is important to be aware of the current outbreak and follow the preventative measures described below:
Symptoms of monkeypox include:
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the genitals, anus, face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, or chest.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. This process can take several weeks
- Pictures of the characteristic rash: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/symptoms.html
- Muscle aches or backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
Several measures can be taken to prevent infection:
- Avoid close contact with the skin of someone with the characteristic rash
- Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
- Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
- Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for a patient
DHHS strongly recommends that anyone who is experiencing symptoms of an unexplained rash on their face, palms, arms, legs, genitals, or perianal region that may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms to contact their healthcare provider.
For more information regarding monkeypox, please click here.