Oklahoma health experts are addressing monkeypox concerns

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As photos of the ugly-looking rash surfaced, local health experts told KFOR on Wednesday that there was still no need for a pandemic panic.

“I think the risk is very low right now in Oklahoma.

At a public session Monday, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief monkey measles expert confirmed that the disease was not spreading at pandemic levels, but said many were unaware of the disease, including exactly how it spread and whether stopping mass immunization against smallpox decades ago, it may have somehow accelerated its transmission.

“One thing that’s important to understand is that it’s not exactly like the coronavirus,” said David L. Holden, Ph.D.

“The coronavirus is really transmitted by air,” added the doctor, who is currently president of the Oklahoma Medical Association.

“We had no idea who had it and who didn’t. It can spread, you think they have a cold or something. While in monkeypox, the symptoms are much more dramatic. And, of course, the rash is a telltale sign, but they remain symptomatic and are transmitted for up to three weeks. So I think we in Oklahoma need to be sure and admit that this is a problem.

“Historically, monkeypox is just a variation of what we call orthopox viruses,” Holden said, adding that this was not the first time monkeypox had escaped, but still identified its similarities to the wider orthopox.

“This has happened before,” he said, referring to the disease.

“The difference is that this seems to be a much wider explosion than in many countries,” he continued. “I have studied smallpox in the past that it can be transmitted by air in the sense that if you shake a blanket that someone has worn that is infected, the particles in that blanket are contaminated. And if you breathe it or come in contact with them, it’s theoretically floating in the air in that sense, “he continued.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say they are tracking cases of monkeypox reported in countries around the world that have not normally seen cases of the disease, according to a recent travel announcement.

“There are only a few cases here in the United States. And a very thorough investigation of these cases has shown that many of them had exposure abroad or traveled or had contact with someone who had one of these risk factors, “said Jolian Stone, MPH and state epidemiologist in Oklahoma. Health department.

KFOR said earlier that the number of cases of monkeypox was 18, according to data provided by the CDC. However, since this update, the latest data provided by the health organization shows the overall confirmed cases of monkeypox / orthopoxvirus as 19.

Health experts said that although the risk to public health is relatively low, Oklahoma residents still need to be vigilant, especially if they have traveled outside the state.

“We just have to be vigilant and we have to acknowledge, you know, that our society is a little fragile from the way we exist now, the way we travel, the way we interact in mass crowds,” Dr. Holden said. . “If you don’t travel [and] If a case occurs in Oklahoma somewhere in the state, you will know that you need to watch closely.

“The state health department can go in there and isolate these people,” he added.

Julian Stone said the state has a plan to address public health concerns if cases are identified in Oklahoma.

“We have a plan to test this person and make sure we protect these contacts around him and the people in the community,” she said. “If you have had close physical contact with someone who may have had a rash or been exposed to monkeypox and you think you may be at risk, be sure to contact your healthcare provider and we can work with him for testing.

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