Officials have reported two suspected cases in Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County Health officials announced Monday morning that two adults in the same Salt Lake County home are suspected of having monkeypox based on initial tests.

The two infected people traveled to an area in Europe earlier this month that “currently has cases of monkeypox” and subsequently became symptomatic, as advised by county health officials.

“Both individuals are in isolation and do not pose a danger to the public,” officials said in a press release. “They have a mild illness and are expected to make a full recovery.”

Dr. Angela Dunn, the executive director of the Salt Lake County Department of Health, said Monday that the presumed infected husband went to a primary care doctor Friday and was instructed to isolate.

Within 24 hours, Dunn said, health officials learned that the couple had a type of orthopoxvirus — the family of viruses that includes monkeypox and smallpox. Dunn said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing samples to confirm a diagnosis of monkeypox.

No further information about the two presumed infected individuals was released early Monday; County health department officials cited medical privacy laws.

Exposure fears

According to county officials, the Utah public health system “has not identified any risks of exposure to the public from these potential cases.”

In a statement, officials said that any concern about exposure is limited to people who have been specifically identified as having had direct and close contact with a presumed infected spouse during the period of infection.

County and state health officials are making those apparent close contacts and are expected to have them all by the end of Monday. By noon Monday, health officials said none of the people contacted had had any “high-risk” contact with infected individuals, meaning they likely did not contract the virus and were not required to quarantine.

Salt Lake County health officials also said there was no evidence to suggest that the two people who were presumed to have infected anyone outside of Salt Lake County. The Utah Department of Health has referred requests for comment to the Salt Lake County Health Department.

During a press conference, Den urged Utahns not to panic.

“It doesn’t spread easily from human to human. We’re not talking about COVID here,” she said. “It’s really that direct contact with individuals who have monkeypox, and that’s how it’s spreading now.”

What experts know about monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare disease commonly found in central and western Africa, but health officials have recently identified cases in Europe and North America.

Those two cases – along with the two suspected cases in Salt Lake County on Monday – were found in people who had not been to Africa recently, which Dunn said means there is a “new and sustained spread” of humans outside the continent where the disease is considered “endemic”. Or is there regularly.

Last week, Salt Lake County health officials called area doctors about an increase in monkeypox cases, Dunn said, so area doctors knew what to look for when the Salt Lake County pair came in and were directed to isolate.

In humans, monkeypox can cause flu-like symptoms Such as fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Salt Lake County health officials advised that people with monkeypox often develop a rash, which usually first appears on the face before spreading to other parts of the body, then turning into fluid-filled bumps called “smallpox.”

Smallpox lesions usually crust over before falling off. The infection can last between two and four weeks. Dunn said people don’t become infected until they have symptoms.

President Joe Biden said Sunday that the newly identified cases of monkeypox in Europe and North America were “a matter of concern,” the Associated Press reported this weekend.

There were about 100 confirmed cases in “non-endemic countries” around the world as of Saturday, according to the World Health Organization. As of Monday, such cases had been identified in England, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, France, Canada and Australia.

Dunn said Utans should see a doctor if they have recently traveled to an area where monkeypox was identified — or had close contact with someone showing symptoms — and they have since developed symptoms.

How does monkeypox usually spread?

It’s not known that monkeypox virus spreads easily between humans, Dunn said, and transmission generally does not occur through casual contact.

Instead, human-to-human transmission generally occurs through direct contact with body fluids, including monkeypox lesions as well as semen and/or vaginal fluid.

This means that the virus can be spread through sexual contact, but it can also spread if someone comes into contact with such bodily fluids or other infectious material on someone’s clothing or bedding.

Individuals can also contract monkeypox through “prolonged, close, face-to-face contact”; Dunn explained Monday that a “prolonged” contact is considered to be around three hours.

Dunn said current international issues are spreading “especially among the gay – or men who have sex with men (MSM) – community”. The county health department is working with community partners ahead of Utah Pride week to educate attendees about the risks and how to protect themselves, although the spread isn’t limited to sex or sexual activity, and the CDC has advised that some cases have been reported in roommates, or people who share a family.

It usually takes about seven to 14 days for someone to go from having monkeypox to start showing symptoms, but that time period can range from five to 21 days, officials advised.

There is currently no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox. But the limited available evidence suggests that smallpox treatments may be beneficial, officials said.

Dunn said the county has a stockpile of smallpox vaccine and smallpox treatment that can be given. Most people recover without treatment.

If you are planning to travel internationally soon

Salt Lake County health officials have advised Utahns planning to travel internationally to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current recommendations for monkeypox and other infectious diseases to their intended destinations.

These recommendations include frequent and thorough hand washing; avoid contact with animals; Avoid close contact with people who appear to have symptoms of monkeypox or other diseases.

Officials advised people planning international travel to consider checking to make sure they keep up with recommended vaccinations and educate them about potential health risks at their intended destinations.

You can plan an appointment with the Salt Lake County Department of Health Travel Clinic by calling 385-468-4111. Similar travel clinics are available in Davis and Utah counties.

For more information on monkeypox, visit


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