Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 21, 2022
Monkeypox reaches Tooele County

Health Dept. says don’t worry 

The first Monkeypox cases have reached Tooele County but health officials say not to panic.

There were 129 cases of the virus in Utah as of Sept. 15 with two cases in Tooele County, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Monkeypox is a rare, sometimes life-threatening viral zoonotic infection,” said Mamadou Tounkara, Tooele County Health Department’s senior epidemiologist. “Zoonotic diseases, also known as zoonoses, are caused by germs that spread between animals and people.”

Monkeypox is endemic in West and Central Africa but it is spread around the globe from infected animals to humans and person-to-person contact from respiratory secretions, bodily fluids, shared towels and contaminated bedding, and sexual contact, which is the most common way the infection is spread.  

Individuals who have contracted monkeypox develop a characteristic rash that may be located on or near the genitals, hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth, according to Tounkara.

The rash will go through several stages including scabbing, before healing.

“The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters that may be painful or itchy depending on the individual,” Tounkara said.

Other symptoms of monkeypox include: fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough.

This isn’t the first time cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States.

“In 2003, the first monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa was in the United States and the case was linked to contact with infected pet prairie dogs imported from Ghana in 2002,” Tounkara said.

Health officials predict Monkeypox isn’t going to spread quickly enough to cause a second pandemic.

“We do not expect monkeypox to reach the level of transmission or infection rates as we have experienced with COVID-19,” Tounkara said.

Those who think they may have contracted the infection should see their primary care provider for a check-up.

The Tooele County Health Department also offers a free vaccine. To schedule an appointment, please call 435-277-2300.


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