The first case of the monkeypox virus was found in Albany County on Tuesday, July 19.
As of Tuesday, there were at least 679 cases of monkeypox in the state, up from 651 a day before. The vast majority, at least 639, are confirmed in New York City. The first case outside NYC was identified in Sullivan County on June 7. Additional infections have been confirmed in Westchester, Suffolk, Monroe, Erie, Chemung, Rockland, St. Lawrence and now Albany counties.
The case in Albany County was found in a person that frequently travels outside the county and it is believed that the person was infected during those travels. The county is not releasing any information about the infected person, including where he or she lives.
“As we learn more about this case of monkeypox and those around the state, now is not the time for alarm or panic,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. “Albany County has demonstrated our ability to deal with communicable infections in the past and we will bring that same focus and professionalism to this outbreak.”
Monkeypox is a rare, viral infection that does not usually cause serious illness. However, it can result in hospitalization or death, especially if left untreated. Infection is spread through close physical contact between individuals or between individuals and contaminated objects, and the associated rash and/or blisters typically last between two to four weeks.
As with most viruses, some are more vulnerable to severe symptoms, like those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, children under 8 years old and those who are pregnant.
Symptoms include rashes, bumps or blisters around the genitals or on other parts of the body and flu like symptoms like fever, muscle ache and chills and fatigue.
Anyone can get monkeypox but according to the state Department of Health, based on the current outbreak, some populations are being affected more than others, including men who have sex with men.
Generally, according to the state DOH and the federal Center for Disease Control, the virus is spread:
- Through direct contact with monkeypox sores or rashes on an individual who has monkeypox
- Through respiratory droplets or oral fluids from someone with monkeypox, particularly for those who have close contact with someone — such as kissing, cuddling or sex — or are around them for a long period of time
- Through contact with objects or fabrics — like clothing, bedding and towels — that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
To protect against contracting monkeypox, the DOG recommends asking sexual partners if they have a rash or other symptoms, avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox-related symptoms.
If symptoms do present themselves, the DOH recommends the person visit a doctor as soon as possible. Treatments include medication and there is a vaccine available.