Navajo Nation confirms three new monkeypox cases
WINDOW ROCK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Navajo Department of Health and the Navajo Epidemiology Center has issued a Health Advisory notice announcing that three people have confirmed cases of monkeypox. In total, four cases have been confirmed, with the first being diagnosed in August. Health officials say the virus was contracted outside the Navajo Nation and brought into the community.
In July, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez created a Monkeypox Preparedness Team to monitor the spread and coordinate preventive efforts to address the virus. In addition, president Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer sent a letter to President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, asking that monkeypox vaccines be prioritized for tribal communities.
Vaccines arrived at health facilities inside the Nation by the end of August. “We recently secured doses of the monkeypox vaccines, and they are now available to the Navajo people at each of our healthcare facilities,” President Nez said. “As cases of monkeypox continue to gradually spread across the country, our public health officials continue to push back and urge our people to be very cautious.”
According to the Health Advisory Notice, a person could develop symptoms between 5 to 21 days after exposure to monkeypox. Symptoms can include a fever or general feeling of illness, headache, sometimes a sore throat and cough, and enlarged/swollen lymph glands or nodes. In addition, in later stages, many people experience rashes on the face, inside the mouth, and other parts of the body, including the genitals. A person is most contagious during the rash phase since it is spread through skin-to-skin contact.
It can also be spread by anyone infected, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, through sexual activity, hugging, massaging, kissing, or prolonged face-to-face contact. Therefore, health experts ask that if you are sick with monkeypox, isolate at home, stay away from others and pets, and contact your health care provider for testing, care, and treatment.
Vaccinations are recommended for people who’ve had close contact with someone who has had monkeypox. Contact your primary care physician for further vaccine recommendations.
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