First presumed monkeypox case reported in Virginia

Posted at 1:43 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 16:54:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The first presumed monkeypox case in Virginia was made public on Thursday, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

"The patient is an adult female resident of the Northern region of Virginia with recent international travel history to an African country where the disease is known to occur," the VDH wrote in a press release. "She was not infectious during travel. She did not require hospitalization and is isolating at home to monitor her health."

The CDC has said the risk of monkeypox to the public is low but advised Americans to avoid contact with others if you develop an unexplained skin rash. Typical symptoms of monkeypox include a rash, fever, malaise, headache, and muscle aches.

"Monkeypox is a very rare disease in the United States. The patient is currently isolating and does not pose a risk to the public.” State Health Commissioner Dr. Colin Greene said. “Transmission requires close contact with someone with symptomatic monkeypox, and this virus has not shown the ability to spread rapidly in the general population. VDH is monitoring national and international trends and has notified medical providers in Virginia to watch for monkeypox cases and report them to their local health district as soon as possible. Based on the limited information currently available about the evolving multi-country outbreak, the risk to the public appears to be very low.”

With cases of monkeypox reported in multiple countries, including the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory for the disease.

The Level 2 alert issued for over a dozen nations encourages travelers to take additional precautions to avoid cases.

The CDC recommends avoiding:

  • Close contact with sick people, including those with skin lesions or genital lesions
  • Contact with dead or live wild animals such as small mammals including rodents (rats, squirrels) and non-human primates (monkeys, apes)
  • Eating or preparing meat from wild game (bushmeat) or using products derived from wild animals from Africa (creams, lotions, powders)
  • Contact with contaminated materials used by sick people (such as clothing, bedding, or materials used in healthcare settings) or that came into contact with infected animals.

Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are effective in preventing monkeypox and some antiviral drugs are being developed. In recent years, the illness has been fatal in up to 6% of infections.

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