Monkeypox case reported in Delaware, health experts weigh in

The first case of Monkeypox has been reported in Delaware.

News that the disease had been reported in Delaware on Tuesday sent shockwaves across the First State as much of the country continues to report cases that Delaware Division of Public of Health Lead Epidemiologist Emily Hanlin says spreads through close contact.

“As of this morning, we’ve reported that we’ve detected one probable case in Delaware, a 41-year-old male from New Castle County,” Hanlin explained. “This particular strain has really been transmitted by what we’re saying is close intimate contact, whether that’s sexual contact, close prolonged kissing, respiratory secretions, or contact with the actual blister-like vesicles themselves.”

The individual, a 41-year-old New Castle County man, is self-isolating and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is working with him to identify anyone who came into close personal contact with him who could have contracted the virus. Currently, DPH is working with the CDC to confirm the course of treatment for the man.

The physical outbreak of Monkeypox initially appears as a rash which health officials say then develops into sores that can break out in certain areas of the body from inside your mouth all the way down to your private area.

“They’re small fluid-filled, blister-like sacks,” Hanlin described. “With this particular outbreak, they develop in certain areas and they can be in the oral cavity, some of the individuals have developed them in the anus and that sort of area, so they can really occur in the trunk, on the arms, and that sort of thing.”

The incubation period of the illness (time from infection to symptoms) is typically seven to 14 days but can as long as 21 days. The illness itself typically lasts two to four weeks and is rarely fatal. People who do not have symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

While this may seem alarming, state health experts are stressing that the risk of transmission remains low and the severity of the illness is generally very mild.

“This particular strain, in and of itself, is very mild and most of the cases have had mild symptoms,” Hanlin continued. “Overall, I believe the case fatality rate for Monkeypox is only around three to six percent.”

Currently, there is no specific treatment for Monkeypox virus infection. Instead, smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin can be used. CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been diagnosed with or exposed to the virus, and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to the virus.

“We encourage Delawareans to be aware of being in close intimate contact with individuals who have rashes or flu-like symptoms,” DPH Interim Director Dr. Rick Hong. “We will continue to monitor this situation closely.”

Anyone who exhibits any symptoms, such as fever and fatigue related symptoms associated with the disease, or if you notice a rash, you’re strongly encouraged to contact your healthcare provider immediately to be tested and treated if necessary.

To learn more about MPX management and prevention programs and resources, visit https://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/epi/emerginginfectiousdiseases.html or call DPH’s Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology 24/7 emergency contact number at 888-295-5156.

Categories: Delaware, Health, Local News