MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) – Health leaders in Chautauqua County are on alert, monitoring the nationwide Monkeypox outbreak.
We spoke to Chautauqua County’s Public Health Director about where we stand locally.
In New York State, most Monkeypox cases are within the Big Apple, but closer to home, a handful of infections have been recorded in Western New York and Northwest Pennsylvania.
Right now there are 2,000 Monkeypox cases across the state, with no reported in Chautauqua County. However, Health Director Christine Schuyler is monitoring the situation.
“The best thing we can do is really to provide good solid education, and really want people to get educated,“ explained Schuyler. “The CDC has a tremendous amount of information on their website.”
The virus is spread through close contact with infected surfaces. Schuyler says Monkeypox predominantly transmitted through same-sex intercourse.
“The highest risk group that has been identified at this time are men having sex with men,“ stated Schuyler. “That doesn’t mean that other people who come in contact during intimate relations or during very close physical contact are also at risk.”
“Please be very very careful when you are having intimate relations with another, or you’re going to have close contact, share bed linen, share towels, anything like that with someone else,“ explained Schuyler.
Monkeypox, which is closely related to smallpox, has a one to two week incubation period where those afflicted will suffer from a variety of symptoms from flu-like symptoms, to rashy areas on the extremities.
“A person may develop a lot of fatigue, and also a lot of muscle aches, and pain, and fever, and swollen lymph nodes,“ stated Schuyler. “Those could be in the neck region, or it could be in other areas of the body. That really is one of the distinguishing symptoms that is being seen.
When looking back on the hardships of the past two years, many are looking at the Monkeypox outbreak with fear of another pandemic. Schuyler however ensures us that while Monkeypox is dangerous, it will not evolve into the same situation COVID-19 did.
“A pandemic is something that’s spread through close contact because of respiratory droplets,“ explained Schuyler. “And that’s really when you’ll see something spread to a pandemic phase. That’s not expected with this sort of virus.”
The best way to fight the virus is through vaccination, while Chautauqua County has no vaccines on hand at the moment. Officials will receive doses if, and when, Monkeypox shows itself locally.