Columbus County identifies first case of monkeypox

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Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 12:25 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Columbus County spokesperson has confirmed that a case of monkeypox was found in the county on Monday, August 22.

“We know that Bladen county had two cases, so we knew it wouldn’t be long before we would have cases down here,” said Columbus County Health Director Kim Smith. “The important thing to remember is that monkey pox is spread through prolonged, intimate contact.”

The man tested positive on Monday and has since been isolating. He was experiencing flu-like symptoms then started to develop the common monkeypox rash.

“The person is infectious before the rash breaks out. Some don’t even have a rash, but they have the symptoms before which are flu-like symptoms. It seems like every virus that we have is flu-like symptoms,” Smith said. “But you know, especially if you see the pox, the rash, an outbreak of someone who has that rash, you definitely don’t want to have that prolonged, intimate contact.”

Smith said they have been doing contact tracing to help stop the spread of the virus. They’re also vaccinating anyone he was in close contact with.

“As far as I know, the individual with monkeypox is doing fine. He has not had to go to the hospital or anything,” she continued.

Smith also raised concerns about kids heading back to school soon.

“They haven’t seen each other over the summer, they hug, they stand close to each other. You know, they have that skin-to-skin contact.”

Health officials urge everyone to wash your hands often and keep your distance from anyone that you think might have the virus.

Smith also urges anyone who has concerns or questions to call your local health department.