South Carolina health agency announces first cases of monkeypox

Two cases of monkeypox were confirmed in S.C. on Friday.
South Carolina’s health agency just announced today the disease has spread to the state with two new cases.
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - Monkeypox has officially hit the Palmetto State.

South Carolina’s health agency announced today that two cases have popped up in South Carolina for the first time since the disease entered the United States.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says one case is in the Midlands and one in the Lowcountry.

Health officials say there’s no need for extreme caution or worry.

In a press release, DHEC says the affected individuals are being monitored “until they are no longer infectious to prevent spread of the virus and will be isolated if needed.”

”We know that cases were increasing nationwide so we fully expected to find cases in South Carolina eventually,” epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said.

Bell could not say where these individuals got it from because of privacy. Other states have disclosed that the cases came from overseas after travel or within the United States.

”The fact that we have two cases in all of South Carolina at this time should not be a great concern,” she said.

No great concern because Bell says a person needs to have very close, somewhat intimate, contact with a person with skin legions for a very long time.

The press release says Midlands and Lowcountry regional epidemiology staffs are completing contact investigations and offering post-exposure vaccination to people exposed to the individuals who are infected. Those people also will be monitored to determine if they develop an infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been notified, and DHEC continues to follow CDC guidance in the monkeypox response.

”You heard questions about comparisons to COVID, is that what we’re looking at? And no, that’s not the case” Bell said.

Bell says most of these cases last two to four weeks. While it can be severe, most cases they’ve seen are mild and don’t require hospitalization.

Fever, headache, muscle aches and a very distinct rash are some of the symptoms to look out for.

”I just want to emphasize the way this virus is spread doesn’t pose a threat to the majority of South Carolinians,” she said.

Bell says the state does has vaccines but they are only giving them to infected patients and any close contacts.

In the press release, DHEC recommends going to a usual healthcare provider, visiting an urgent care center, or calling the health department if a person feels they’ve been exposed or have an unusual rash.

Related: 5 things to know about Monkeypox in Mecklenburg County

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