First monkeypox case reported in Albany County

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A monkeypox rash. Courtesy of CDC

The first case of monkeypox in the county has been confirmed, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said Tuesday.

The individual’s name and other identifying information, and the town where they reside, has not been released.

The person has a history of out-of-state travel and is not thought to have contracted the virus in Albany County, McCoy said.

Monkeypox, or orthopoxvirus, is in the same family of viruses as variola virus, which causes smallpox, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but the virus is rarely fatal, according to the CDC website. The virus is not related to chickenpox.

There have been hundreds of cases in the current outbreak of monkeypox across the country, with 651 in New York state and the vast majority — 618 of them — identified in New York City, as of July 18, according to McCoy.

The first infection reported outside New York City was in Sullivan County on June 7, and since that time additional infections have been reported in Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau, Monroe, Erie, Chemung, Rockland and St. Lawrence counties.

The case identified in Albany County on July 19 is the first confirmed infection in the county.

“As we learn more about this case of monkeypox and those around the state, now is not the time for alarm or panic,” McCoy said. “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. We stand ready to work with the governor and the state Department of Health to ensure we have the treatments, vaccines and response necessary to protect our residents.”

The monkeypox virus is spread mostly through close, intimate contact with an infected individual or with contaminated objects. The virus typically lasts about two to four weeks.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. The rash frequently appears inside the mouth and on the hands, feet, chest and genitals, according to the CDC.

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