Central District Health ready for monkeypox arrival on Grand Island | Grand Island Local News

Monkeypox is booming across the country. In time, he will come to Grand Island.

The Central District Health Department, however, is ready for his arrival.

The Jynneos vaccine is available to the community and CDHD has already started testing for the virus.

“We expect to see cases here. We think it’s only a matter of time before it happens this way, just like COVID and everything else,” said Jonna Mangeot, senior nurse in CDHD Community Health. “It can spread through fomites, but also through that skin-to-skin contact, and you think about upcoming sports seasons and that sort of thing.”

She added, “We’re just trying to prepare the whole community.”

No cases of monkeypox have yet been reported in the CDHD tri-county coverage area. Already, four doses have been administered to people who felt they were at high risk of exposure.

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Some people in the Grand Island area have been tested for monkeypox, with negative results.

Commercial tests are now available for monkeypox, and tests are available at the Nebraska Public Health Lab, Mangeot said.

Monkeypox is distinct from COVID, which is a respiratory virus.

Symptoms of monkeypox include chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, rashes, and lesions. For some people, there may not be flu-like symptoms at first, but they can still be contagious.

“They’re contagious the whole time they have the rash, until the lesions are completely healed,” Mangeot said. “Even though there is new skin underneath and there is still dried skin on top, they are still contagious until that skin is completely healed.”

When COVID started, it suddenly appeared in places with high occupancy.

Its variants migrated and could be tracked, allowing agencies, including CDHD, to prepare.

This is the case now with monkeypox, Mangeot said.

“We are on the lookout for this heightened surveillance, with health alert networks across the state going to hospitals,” Mangeot said.

Contact tracing is also ongoing.

“They are asking people who have tested positive to name their contacts or do contact tracing and put them in touch with the local health department,” Mangeot said. “We’re doing this kind of contact tracing and trying to stop the spread, slow the spread, that way.”

Other vaccines arrived at the CDHD on Tuesday from the National Strategic Stock, Mangeot noted, as the agency remains vigilant.

“We are looking for cases,” she said. “We made a lot of phone calls and explained to people whether or not they had been exposed, if they were eligible for the vaccine, that is, if they had had an experience in the last 14 days with someone with monkeypox, or a sexual encounter in an area with a high incidence of monkeypox, such as New York or California, where they have established a public health emergency.”

Mangeot encourages people to get vaccinated against monkeypox.

“Vaccination against smallpox is what got us to eradication,” she said. “If people are at high risk, certainly having this vaccine would significantly reduce their risk.”

For more information, visit cdhd.ne.gov/resources/monkeypox.html.

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