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The first case of monkeypox virus infection has been found in a North Carolina resident, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday.
NCDHHS is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, relevant local health departments and the patient’s health care providers to identify and notify people who might have had contact with the person while they were infectious, according to a press release.
The individual is currently isolating at home. The NCDHHS says no further information will be shared about the individual’s case to protect their privacy.
The case was identified by testing at the State Laboratory of Public Health.
“The number of monkeypox cases has been growing in the U.S. and globally,” Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist and Epidemiology Section Chief, said through the press release. “Though this is the first confirmed case in North Carolina, we know there are likely other cases in the state. We are encouraging doctors to consider this in people who have a rash or skin lesion that looks like monkeypox.”
As of last month, 156 monkeypox cases have been identified in the United States. There have not been any deaths related to this outbreak, NCDHHS says.
What is monkeypox?
“Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious, viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. Illness could be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus (chickenpox),” per NCDHHS. “Most infections last two to four weeks.”
Monkeypox can be transmitted through skin-to-skin direct contact, having contact with an infectious rash, through respiratory secretions or through bodily fluids, the press release says.