First probable case of Monkeypox identified in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State health officials say a Berkeley County resident may be infected with monkeypox.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources on Friday announced the first probable case of monkeypox has been identified in the state.

Dr. Ayne Amjad

No other additional information was released out of respect for the patient’s privacy.

There are about 600 cases monkeypox cases nationwide.

State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad said during Gov. Jim Justice’s Friday media briefing at the state Capitol monkeypox is much less contagious than COVID-19.

“The risk to West Virginians is extremely low,” Amjad said. “You do have to come into someone who has monkeypox, whether it’s through sharing bedding, coming in contact with blisters that they might have.”

The DHHR said monkeypox can spread through close, prolonged contact with an infected person. This may include coming into contact with skin lesions or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.

Dr. Clay Marsh

State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said health care providers should request testing for patients by calling their local health department or the DHHR’s Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services at 304-558-5358.

“It’s important to make sure if somebody does present with what could be monkeypox, then you as a health care provider, stay careful and wear protective equipment,” Marsh said.

The DHHR’s Office Laboratory Services conducted the initial testing that identified the probable monkeypox case and the CDC is now conducting testing to confirm the case.

“Our state lab is able to test for monkeypox. CDC does confirm theses cases as well, but we still do have our first probable one,” Amjad said.

The CDC has made monkeypox vaccines available for those who have been infected with the disease or were in close contact with the infected person.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion or a rash that looks like acne or blisters.

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