Atlanta man diagnosed with monkeypox, thinks he got disease by touching surface on the job
ATLANTA — It’s a diagnosis a 28-year-old Georgia resident, who didn’t want to be identified, says he’s still wrapping his head around.
“I couldn’t believe I got it,” he said.
He spoke to Channel 2’s Ashli Lincoln exclusively through Zoom after being diagnosed with the monkeypox virus by doctors at Emory.
“Now I’m here, and now I have to get treated,” he said.
He says he suspects he got the virus from his job at Six Flags Over Georgia.
“It’s just the fact that there are a lot of people that work there. There are a lot of guests that come in and out of the park every day that we operate,” he said.
Channel 2 confirmed the man is, in fact, an employee with Six Flags Over Georgia.
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He says the park has done a great job with sanitizing in recent months, but he suspects he touched a surface or object after a co-worker who appeared to have the monkeypox virus.
“On the back side of his neck, you can see it. I didn’t touch him. I was just walking next to him; I was near him. Is it that contagious? Is it on surfaces? Like, where is it?” he said.
Transmission of monkeypox typically takes skin-to-skin or other close contact to transmit, according to the Georgia Department of Health.
The DPH says touching items like clothing or linens that previously touched the rash or body fluids is one way monkeypox spreads but has not been identified as a common mode of transmission in this outbreak or for monkeypox in general.
Passing encounters with money, a door handle, or environmental surfaces carry an even lower risk than things like bedding or towels, according to the DPH.
The DPH says 90% of the cases are contracted through skin-to-skin contact.
Latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal 851 confirmed cases in the state of Georgia.
As the numbers continue to climb, hundreds are lining up at vaccination events across the metro area.
This week, U.S. health officials announced that they’d be stretching the nation’s limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine by giving people just one-fifth of the full dose. Doing this would expand the 440,000 available full doses to more than 2 million smaller doses.
“It is itchy, and they told me not to scratch. I can’t scratch,” said the Six Flags employee.
The Six Flags employee says he’s in the process of alerting management.
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The amusement park sent Channel 2 a statement on Friday afternoon saying they’re unaware of any confirmed monkeypox cases.
That statement was updated on Saturday morning to say:
Six Flags Over Georgia maintains a stringent sanitation protocol, created with guidance from our Board Certified Infectious Disease consultant. We also strictly comply with HIPPA regulations, and company policy mandates that any team member that does not feel well should stay home from work and notify their supervisor. Guests are also advised to plan their visit for another day if they are not well.
We have been notified of a single confirmed diagnosis of monkeypox. The team member did the right thing by staying home.
The CDC reports that monkeypox is transmitted through close, personal contact.
We have not been advised, nor is there any evidence, that the team member came in contact with any other team member, and no evidence that the team member contracted the infectious disease at work. Further, we have not received any reports that any other team member has this disease.
We will remain vigilant in our ongoing, day-to-day efforts to provide safe, fun, outdoor entertainment for our guests, and a safe work environment for our team members. Safety is, and always has been, our top priority.
The state’s Department of Health says 90% of the cases are contracted through skin-to-skin contact.
However, the CDC says the virus can spread through fabrics and objects after touching these items behind an infected person.
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