The New Jersey Department of Health officials believe they have found the first probable case of monkeypox in the state.
A PCR test conducted by the department’s Public Health and Environmental Laboratories confirmed the presence of orthopoxvirus in a North Jersey individual on June 18.
A test to confirm it is the monkeypox virus – one of the viruses associated with the orthopoxvirus genus – will be performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC is tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said she believes that the risk to New Jerseyans remains low.
At the direction of NJDOH, the infected individual is isolating at home.
The local health department is conducting contact tracing to identify any individuals who may have been exposed to the individual. No additional details related to the case will be released due to patient confidentiality.
“Most New Jersey residents are not at risk of infection with monkeypox,” said Persichilli. “Monkeypox is rare but can spread through close prolonged contact with an infected person or animal.”
“This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by someone who is infectious, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact,” said Persichilli.
Monkeypox cases have been confirmed in 20 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC.
This current Disease Outbreak News on the multi-country monkeypox outbreak is an update to the previously published Disease Outbreak News of 10 June, with updated data, some further details on surveillance and reporting, One Health, gatherings, Risk communication and community engagement and International travel and points of entry.
In this edition, we are removing the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries, reporting on countries together where possible, to reflect the unified response that is needed.
Outbreak at a glance
Since January, cases of monkeypox have been reported to WHO from 42 Member States across five WHO regions (the Regions of the Americas, Africa, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific).
As of June 15, a total of 2103 laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case, including one death, have been reported to WHO. The outbreak of monkeypox continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners.
It’s not clear how those people were exposed to monkeypox, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.
In humans, monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox, and begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion 7−14 days after infection, according to the CDC.
As a precaution, any New Jersey residents who experience flu-like illness with swelling of lymph nodes and rash occurring on the face and body should contact their healthcare provider.
NJDOH had alerted local medical professionals and local health departments to monitor for cases.
For more information about the disease, see CDC: Monkeypox.