By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
Greene County has reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox, according to the New York State Department of Health.
The name of the town or other identifying information about the person who contracted the virus has not been released.
As of July 20, the state confirmed 756 cases of the virus, with the majority of cases, 711, in New York City, 18 in Westchester County, nine in Suffolk, four each in Nassau and Monroe counties, two in Erie, and one each in Sullivan, Chemung, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Tompkins, Albany, Orange and now Greene.
Monkeypox, or orthopoxvirus, is a rare viral infection that is mild in many cases but can cause hospitalization and death. Infections spread from person to person, or from a contaminated object to a person.
The virus is rarely seen in the United States, but has been spreading globally in numerous countries that do not typically have cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, encouraged New Yorkers to learn more about the virus and find out how to avoid its spread.
“While I do not feel this announcement is one that should cause people any undue fear or worry, I want the people of Greene County and elsewhere in the 102nd Assembly District to know we are aware of the spread of monkeypox and are prepared to do everything we can for those who may become affected by it,” Tague said in a statement. “What’s most important is to know about monkeypox, how it spreads, and the importance of taking action if you believe you or someone you love may be infected with the virus.”
Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that can resemble pimples or blisters. The rash frequently appears inside the mouth and on the hands, feet, chest and genitals, according to the CDC.
There is a vaccination available to protect against monkeypox. The Greene County Public Health department said in a statement that the following individuals are recommended by the CDC to get vaccinated: people who have been identified as a contact with someone with monkeypox, those who may have been exposed to the virus, who have had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in an area where monkeypox has been confirmed or with a partner who has been diagnosed with monkeypox.
Vaccination clinics are being held at the Saratoga County Department of Health, the only county in the Capital Region to be allocated doses of the vaccine. The next clinic is scheduled for Friday, July 22, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at 6012 County Farm Road in Ballston Spa. No appointments were available as of Thursday morning.
At press time, no vaccination clinics have been scheduled in Greene County.
On July 21, the state Department of Health announced New Yorkers can sign up to receive monkeypox alerts on their smartphone by texting “MONKEYPOX” to 81336. You can also opt in for messages based on your location of interest.