The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed two cases of monkeypox in Salt Lake County, county public health officials said.
“The two Salt Lake County probable monkeypox cases announced Monday have been confirmed by the CDC as monkeypox,” Salt Lake County Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp announced in a brief news release issued Wednesday.
“The infected individuals remain in isolation and do not present a risk to the public; both individuals are expected to recover fully,” Rupp concluded in the release. The county health department has not identified the two adults living in the same Salt Lake County household, citing medical privacy laws.
A CDC official told reporters earlier this week all of the cases reported in the United States involve men. Besides Utah, cases of the virus usually confined to Africa are believed to have shown up in Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Washington and California.
Only the CDC can confirm a case of monkeypox and so far, has done so in Massachusetts and now Utah.
The Salt Lake County men started experiencing monkeypox symptoms after traveling to Europe earlier this month to an area with monkeypox cases, the county health department said Monday. When the pair went to their health care provider Friday, they were told to isolate and public health authorities were notified.
Testing by the state laboratory determined they had an orthopox virus infection, part of the family of diseases that includes smallpox as well as monkeypox. The county health department’s executive director, Dr. Angela Dunn, said Monday she believed they had monkeypox, a “very rare” disease that does not spread easily.
“There is no risk to the general public due to these probable monkeypox cases,” Dunn said, adding that the people who had been in close contact with the two infected individuals were being contacted, but weren’t being asked to quarantine because they hadn’t had a high-risk exposure to the disease.
Rupp said about a dozen people were contacted. They have been told to monitor themselves for 21 days for symptoms, which include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes, along with a rash that turns into fluid-filled pustules that eventually scab over and fall off.
There are no additional suspected or probable cases associated with the two individuals, Rupp said. Neither the country nor the Utah Department of Health has requested the federal government release smallpox vaccines from the national stockpile to help treat high-risk contacts.
The World Health Organization has said the outbreak of the disease largely among gay or bisexual men can be controlled through good hygiene and safe sexual behavior. Monkeypox can be transmitted through sex and other intimate contact, as well as through shared bedding and other materials.