Navajo Nation reports first case of monkeypox

The Navajo Department of Health has confirmed the reservation's first case of monkeypox on Wednesday.

The infected person resides in McKinley County, New Mexico, officials said.

The Navajo Nation has already requested vaccines from the federal government, and the first doses are expected to arrive this week.

President Jonathan Nez released the following statement:

We continue to take a proactive approach to mitigate Monkeypox here on the Navajo Nation, through the establishment of the Monkeypox Preparedness Team that includes our health care experts and by engaging with federal health officials and the White House. Through these efforts, we’ve been able to secure doses of the Monkeypox vaccines and they will be available to the Navajo people soon. As cases of Monkeypox began to spread across the country and into the southwest, we knew we had to prepare. Just as we saw with COVID-19, it came to a point where every region surrounding the Navajo Nation was affected. Now, we have to listen to our public health experts and adhere to their guidance once again.

A town hall meeting will be held online at 10 a.m. on Aug. 25 on the Navajo Nation President and Vice President's Facebook page.

How does it spread?

CDC officials say monkeypox is spread when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus.

"The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth)," a portion of the website reads.

CDC's website states that human-to-human transmission of monkeypox "is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets," but other human-to-human transmission include "direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens."

Health officials say that those who test positive for the virus should isolate at home, stay away from people and pets, and to contact their health care provider for testing, care and treatment.

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