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First presumed Monkeypox case found in Virginia

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Published: May. 26, 2022 at 2:10 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Department of Health has announced the first presumed case of monkeypox was found in Virginia.

The initial testing was completed at the Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.

“Monkeypox is a very rare disease in the United States. The patient is currently isolating and does not pose a risk to the public,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “Transmission requires close contact with someone with symptomatic monkeypox, and this virus has not shown the ability to spread rapidly in the general population.”

The department says the patient is a woman from Northern Virginia who had traveled to an African country where the disease is known to occur.

Monkeypox is a potentially serious illness that is transmitted when someone has close contact with an infected person or animal, according to VDH. Person-to-person spread occurs with prolonged close contact or with direct contact with body fluids or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or linens.

The department says Illness typically begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and swelling of the lymph nodes. After a few days, a specific type of rash appears, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. Symptoms generally appear seven to 14 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks.

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

  • Those who traveled to central or west African countries, parts of Europe where monkeypox cases have been reported, or other areas with confirmed cases of monkeypox during the month before their symptoms began,
  • Those who have had contact with a person with confirmed or suspected monkeypox, or
  • Men who regularly have close or intimate contact with other men.

The department wants anyone seeking care to call their healthcare provider first.

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