Just when we thought we were over the Covid hump, a new health scare is on the radar. Monkeypox has officially been found in Las Vegas. We’ve been hearing about Monkeypox for a while with outbreaks in California and New York. And with this potentially deadline virus on both coasts of our country, it was just a matter of time before it got to us. According to The Street, there are 23 cases of Monkeypox (both probable and confirmed) in Clark County. These stats are as of August 1, 2022. But that number also came from wastewater only near the Strip. So who knows what the actual number is in our rural areas and individual communities.
The Monkeypox virus was detected in the wastewater that is studied by Southern Nevada Health District. This is part of the National Wastewater Surveillance System that was launched in 2020 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This program was started in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Similar studies were used to detect the polio virus back during the polio outbreak in the 1930’s.
The Monkeypox outbreak in both San Francisco and New York City last week got so bad that both places had to declare of state of emergency. Studying Las Vegas‘s wastewater is a way to get an early warning sign that we might be next on the list of outbreaks. If a state of emergency is declared in Las Vegas, there could potentially be more health care workers and money put toward vaccines to protect our citizens from the virus. As of right now, there is no sign of high transmission in our city.
Still, in efforts to keep our numbers low, it is wise for all Las Vegas residents to be on the lookout for signs of Monkeypox, as well as be aware of how the virus is transmitted. Monkeypox can be contracted by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person and also potentially through sexual contact. The symptoms mimic that of the flu (fever, headache, muscles aches, etc), followed by a rash that looks like blisters with fluid inside. Usually symptoms will start to show 7 to 14 days after someone has been exposed. If you do suspect you have contracted Monkeypox, see your doctor right away.
–Wendy Rush, 96.3KKLZ Las Vegas