Trillium Health issues warning as they monitor Monkeypox disease
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — According to the CDC, early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases.
Local doctors are now trying to warn the community of the risks and get ahead of it before it spreads to our area.
Trillium Health Dr. William Valenti said monkeypox, the virus as we know it in Africa is transmitted from animals usually rodents to humans, but what they are seeing now is person to person spread and they are urging everyone to be alert.
“The real issue here is a new way of that,” Dr. Valenti said. “We have identified a new way in which this virus spreads. It’s not just from animals to people. It’s people to people.”
Dr. Valenti and Trillium Health’s ROC Pride Collective issued an alert out to the community about monkeypox.
“We don’t really know what’s going to happen or how many more cases we’ll be seeing. We have not seen any cases in Rochester yet, but we want people to be aware of what’s out there and what they can do to prevent it.”
Dr. Valenti said as more cases pop up in New York State, the virus continues to disproportionately impact men who have sex with men and it starts with flu-like symptoms.
“The rash occurs in small numbers, maybe one or several clustered together in the groin, around the rectum, chest hands and face,” Dr. Valenti said.
So far, Dr. Valenti said data shows monkeypox appears from mostly skin-to-skin contact but don’t be misled by that.
“People who handle exotic animals, for example, as pets or have contact with laboratory animals are also at some risk,” Dr. Valenti said.
Dr. Valenti said this message is not to stigmatize those in the LGBTQ community but to raise awareness of how quickly this viral disease can spread.
“So the problem is a lot of people think it’s somebody else’s problem,” Dr. Valenti said. “It’s oh, no, we have a lot of cases of men who have sex with men and they think, oh, it’s not my problem. But a number of these cases have occurred in other sexual people and in women. So don’t be misled.”
Dr. Valenti did say they have started to see some unusual rashes pop up in Monroe County and they are working with the health department to determine what they are, but no confirmed cases of monkeypox in Rochester right now.
News10NBC reached out to various LGBTQ groups to see if they would like to make a comment. Those who did get back to us preferred not to comment.