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The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) have identified the first case of monkeypox virus infection in Alabama. Both organizations remain on alert for additional cases.

Alabama/US National Atlas

The patient’s sample was tested by the ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL), part of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) which responds to public health emergencies.

Monkeypox is not easily transmitted from person to person. But close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact appears to be the main mode of transmission in the current global epidemic. It is possible that contact with materials used by infected people, such as clothing and linens, could be a way of contracting the virus. The virus usually enters the body through broken skin, respiratory droplets or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth).

Symptoms in this most recent outbreak were not as typical as in previous cases of monkeypox. Instead, people will get a rash that begins as flat spots, followed by raised spots, and then deep blisters, which have a small spot in the middle of the blister and may be itchy or painful.

The rash may only be on one part of the body. Some people may only have the rash and not develop other symptoms such as fever, flu-like illness, headache, muscle aches, or fatigue.

The time between exposure to the virus and the onset of illness is about 7 to 14 days, but can be up to 21 days. Some people who have had monkeypox are men who have sex with men, but anyone exposed to someone with monkeypox and in close skin contact can become infected.

Steps to help prevent monkeypox include the following:

  • Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, clothing, or towels of someone with monkeypox.
  • Ask people with monkeypox to isolate themselves from others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after contact with people who are sick with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with animals that may carry the virus (such as sick or found dead animals).

Do not hesitate to contact your health care provider if you think you have monkeypox or if you have had close intimate contact with someone with a monkeypox rash.

Screening for monkeypox can be done at ADPH BCL and some commercial labs. An effective monkeypox vaccine exists, but at present there are no vaccination recommendations for people who have not been exposed to confirmed cases. Antiviral therapy may be considered in people with certain high-risk conditions, such as immunosuppression.


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