Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Weir: Denton County health director explains monkeypox virus

In a world exhausted by two-plus years of the coronavirus pandemic, another disease, monkeypox, has emerged as a serious threat, one that continues to spread rapidly.

Albeit different from COVID-19, and much harder to transmit, it’s dangerous enough to cause a hospital stay, and even death. Monkeypox can leave the infected disfigured, with pus-filled lesions that scar the skin. In some cases, a few of the bulbous lesions can signal the onset of the disease, while in other cases the lesions may number in the thousands.

Although the virus is widespread in Africa, it has recently entered Europe and the United States and studies indicate it can be transmitted through physical contact with an infected person. Just last week, the Denton County Public Health (DCPH) identified the first case of monkeypox infection in the area. The identity of the infected person is confidential as DCPH investigates. What’s known so far is that anyone can contact the virus through close contact with bodily fluids open sores due to infection, and respiratory secretions.

I interviewed Dr. Matt Richardson, Denton County Health Director, to provide more information about this recent risk to public health. Dr. Richardson sent the following short bio:

“Dr. Matt Richardson was appointed as the Director of Public Health for Denton County in the summer of 2014. Dr. Richardson previously served as Director with the City of Amarillo and Potter/Randall Counties for 9 years. He has authored peer-reviewed publications, testified to the Texas Legislature regarding public health issues and continues to advocate for public health practice and resources for Denton County and the state of Texas.

“He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Abilene Christian University and both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Public Health from the University of North Texas. He is currently board certified and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Dr. Richardson also serves as an accreditation site reviewer for public health programs in universities across the US. Matt lives in Argyle with his wife of 27 years and their two daughters.”

For more info: dentoncounty.gov/monkeypox

Bob Weir
Bob Weir is a former NYPD officer, long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.

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