Second presumed case of monkeypox reported in Virginia, state health department says

Europe Monkeypox
Posted at 6:50 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 18:50:59-04

RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirmed Friday another presumed case of monkeypox in Virginia. This is the second presumed case reported in the Commonwealth; the first was reported in May.

The person, an adult male, lives in northern Virginia, VDH says. He was exposed out of state. He did not have to be hospitalized and is isolating at home.

The health department is identifying and monitoring his close contacts.

Testing was completed at the Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services and confirmed Orthopoxvirus infection. Confirmatory monkeypox testing will be performed at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the agency, multiple countries, including the U.S. are currently experiencing a monkeypox outbreak. To date, health officials say most, but not all, cases have been found in people who identify as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men (MSM).

There have been few hospitalizations and only one death reported globally in this outbreak as of June 24.

As of June 23, the CDC reported 3,504 cases of monkeypox in 44 countries; 173 of those cases were reported in the U.S.

“Monkeypox is a rare disease in the United States and based on the information currently available about the evolving multi-country outbreak, the risk to the public appears to be low," said State Epidemiologist Lilian Peake, MD, MPH, Director of the Office of Epidemiology at VDH. “VDH continues to monitor this disease and provide guidance to medical providers in Virginia to be on the lookout for possible monkeypox cases and report them to their local health districts. We encourage anyone who has symptoms and potential exposure described below to consult their healthcare provider.”

According to VDH, monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness, characterized by a specific type of rash. Rash lesions can begin on the genitals, perianal region, or oral cavity and might be the first or only sign of illness. Co-infection with sexually transmitted infections have been reported. Some patients also have fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and/or swelling of the lymph nodes before developing a rash.

Symptoms generally appear six to 14 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks.

As with many viral illnesses, treatment mainly involves supportive care and relief of symptoms. Person-to-person spread occurs with close contact or with direct contact with body fluids or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or linens.

If you have symptoms consistent with monkeypox, health officials advise you seek medical care from your healthcare provider, especially if you are in one of the following groups:

  • Those who have had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Those who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men
  • Those who traveled to places or attended events where monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the month before symptoms appeared
  • Those who have had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet from Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

If you need to seek care, call your healthcare provider first. Let them know you are concerned about possible monkeypox infection so they can take precautions to ensure that others are not exposed.

On June 24, June 14 and May 20, VDH distributed Clinician Letters to medical professionals reminding them to report any suspected cases of monkeypox to their local health department as soon as possible and implement appropriate infection prevention precautions.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the World Health Organization website and the VDH website.

Related: Virginia reports first presumed case of monkeypox - what does that mean for Hampton Roads?