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Monkeypox declared as a global health emergency but 'the risk to the public remains pretty low' in Omaha

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 20:04:04-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Two of the four suspected cases in Douglas County have been confirmed as monkeypox. But health officials say the transmission of this virus is not like COVID-19.

"We really do deem that the risk to the public remains pretty low risk. We are not expecting to see something blow up like COVID did, necessarily," said Dr. Lindsay Huse, the Douglas County Health director.

The disease appears as a rash and could be accompanied by flu-like symptoms.

"We are not talking just a general red rash, but something that actually looks like blisters or pustules or pimples, and those can occur anywhere on the body that have been exposed," Huse said.

But how does it spread?

"What we are seeing right now is a lot of transmission that's occurring through sexual contact," she said.

But that is not the only way to get it.

"Certainly we are seeing this in populations where sexual contact have been the primary mode of transmission, but again any time you are in skin-to-skin contact with somebody who has this rash, this virus, that risk is there," Huse said.

Other ways include contact with linens or clothing that may have been in contact with the virus.

Monkeypox has been around for years. Dr. Sara Bares with Nebraska Medicine feels optimistic about their ability to treat the disease.

"We have scientists who have been studying, known about monkeypox for many many years and so we have a wealth of information and tools to help us both prevent and treat the disease," Bares said.

These tools include testing and a vaccine.

"This vaccine is not just effective in preventing monkeypox, but it actually can be given after an exposure," Bares said.

The Health Department said the vaccine is in short support and they are prioritizing individuals with known exposure and those believed to be in high-risk situations, right now.

If you believe you have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox or you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor.

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