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UNLV researchers discover monkeypox virus in Clark County wastewaters

23 confirmed and probable cases in Clark County, so far
Posted at 8:59 AM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 12:19:32-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There are now 23 probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Clark County as of Aug. 1, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

As cases continue to rise, the district has announced it will be giving daily updates on the number of local cases, as they did with COVID-19.

FULL COVERAGE: Monkeypox in the Las Vegas valley

Dr. Edwin Oh, a University of Nevada Las Vegas professor, and his team are currently conducting wastewater surveillance to determine how and why cases are rising.

"We've known over the last 2 years that wastewater surviellance can track viruses,” Dr. Oh said. "So when you shower or when you use the bathroom, it's going to enter into our sewage. Because of that, we can be able to determine whether or not there's a virus in a certain community."

The Southern Nevada Health District says there have been 23 people diagnosed with the monkeypox virus in Nevada, since the first confirmed case back in June.

"We are seeing an increase in cases, so we want to make sure that case number gets out to the public,” Haley Blake, a Communicable Diseases Supervisor at SNHD said. “Just so that they can be aware of that increase in cases, and also to note that there is wider availability for testing now."

While the numbers are rising, officials say the risk of getting monkeypox is still low.

Currently, there are two vaccines for the virus. However, SNHD says they have a limited supply of one of the vaccines, which is designated for high-risk people or those that have had close contact with an infected person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that someone exposed to monkeypox should get vaccinated within four days of exposure.

Flu-like symptoms, such as a cough or fever, might be a sign that you should get tested.