The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released a four-page plan Thursday on how to address the recent monkeypox outbreak.

The state is urging anyone who has had close contact with someone who has monkeypox or any unexplained blisters to get checked by a health care provider.

The virus is spread among people through skin-to-skin contact, infected saliva, respiratory droplets and fluid from lesions.

The state is urging people to get tested if they display symptoms of monkeypox. The NCDHHS said testing samples must be collected by a health care professional, and they must follow a specific procedure to collect a good sample for testing. The NCDHHS recommends providers test any patient with a suspicious lesion or sore.

Symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.

The NCDHHS said most people with monkeypox infection get better on their own. Treatment is available and may be recommended for people with a high risk of severe illness.

Vaccines are available for those exposed to monkeypox. Gay or bisexual men or transgender individuals who had multiple sex partners or anonymous sex in the last 14 days are also eligible for a vaccine. While supplies are limited, the NCDHHS said more are coming. A vaccine must be given within 14 days of exposure.

In May, health leaders reported the first monkeypox outbreak in the United Kingdom. Months later, it has reached North Carolina, including Wake and Durham counties.

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