As of July 15, Montana remains one of eight states untouched by monkeypox.
However, Missoula Public Health officials are urging local medical professionals as well as community members to know and be able to recognize the signs of the virus.
Health Promotion Director Cindy Farr explained, “Unfortunately, it is likely only a matter of time before Monkeypox makes its way to Montana now that it is in 41 other states, and with Missoula being a travel hub for our state’s tourism there is a chance we could see the virus come here.”
However, she also shared that, “Thankfully, the strain of monkeypox currently circulating in the United States appears to be mild and there have been no deaths reported nationwide. However, recognizing the signs of this virus remains important as it could easily be confused for other diseases. Properly identifying and isolating anyone with monkeypox quickly will help us stop community spread.”
Early signs of monkeypox include fever, malaise, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and occasionally a cough or sore throat.
Other symptoms include muscle aches, backache, chills and exhaustion, followed by a rash that normally begins on the face and spreads around the body.
Some individuals may develop only a rash, with or without swollen lymph nodes, which can occur on the genitals.
Symptoms usually begin a week or two after exposure but in some cases symptoms have taken up to three weeks to show.
Monkeypox spreads when a person comes into close contact with an infected person by touching the monkeypox lesions on the skin, encountering respiratory secretions or droplets, or touching contaminated materials.
Even though this form of monkeypox has not been reported in the U.S. this year, monkeypox can also spread from animals to humans.
Vaccines for monkeypox have been developed, yet they exist in extremely limited quantities.
If one is tested and diagnosed with monkeypox they should immediately isolate at home until all of their rash lesions have healed, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed.