Monkeypox reaches Dutchess County

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Monkeypox first reared its ugly head in the Hudson Valley in Sullivan County, then, Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties.

Now, Dutchess County can be added to the list as a local resident has tested positive for the rare virus.

County health department staff is monitoring the individual as well as conducting contact tracing. Officials said the case does not pose a risk to the general public.

Symptoms are similar to smallpox, but milder and monkeypox is rarely fatal, health officials said.

The illness typically lasts two to four weeks with symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches and backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body including hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends residents take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:

  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox;
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people with a rash that looks like monkeypox, or who may have been exposed to monkeypox;
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox or someone suspected or known to have been exposed;
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox or someone suspected or known to have been exposed;
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels or clothing of a person with monkeypox or of someone suspected or known to have been exposed; and
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.