GREAT FALLS - The City-County Health Department in Great Falls has confirmed its first case of monkeypox.
The agency said in a news release on Wednesday that the patient is a man aged 20-29. The CCHD says the case is believed to have been contracted locally, and contact tracing is underway to see who else may have been exposed.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, 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.
According to the CDC, the monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment. At times, monkeypox can cause scars from the sores, the development of secondary infections, such as pneumonia, or other complications.
The virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact, but transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact.
There is no treatment specifically for monkeypox, but because monkeypox and smallpox viruses are closely related, antiviral drugs (such as tecovirimat) and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections. The need for treatment will depend on how sick someone gets or whether they are likely to get severely ill.
Montanans can take steps to prevent getting monkeypox. Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
A person who is sick with monkeypox should isolate at home. If they have an active rash or other symptoms, they should be in a separate room or area from other family members and pets, when possible.
To learn more about the virus, visit the MT DPHHS website.