RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia has reported its first presumed case of monkeypox in a woman who recently traveled overseas.
The Virginia Department of Health said Thursday that the woman’s initial test was completed but the state is still awaiting results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the case.
The patient, described only as a woman living in Northern Virginia, recently visited “an African country where the disease is known to occur,” VDH said.
The woman was not infectious when traveling and is currently isolating at home, the state’s health department said. VDH is identifying and monitoring the woman’s close contacts and says no other cases of the rare disease have been detected in Virginia at this time.
“Monkeypox is a very rare disease in the United States. The patient is currently isolating and does not pose a risk to the public,” Virginia Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene said in a statement. “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 CDC says that monkeypox, a virus that originates in animals such as rodents and primates and sometimes moves on to people, causes patients to have a fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headache, body aches and fatigue. Some who experience serious outcomes could develop a rash and lesions on their body.
The incubation period — the window from infection to symptoms — for monkeypox is typically 7-14 days but could range from five to 21 days, according to the CDC. The illness often lasts between two to four weeks.
Patients can develop the rash, which often begins on the face and then spreads, within a day or three after getting a fever. But the CDC says that time window can be longer than three days.
While rare, monkeypox is potentially serious as the viral illness has shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 people in Africa who get infected, according to the CDC. The disease mostly spreads in central and western Africa through animals but rarely across borders.
VDH is asking people who are sick and have symptoms consistent with monkeypox to seek medical care, especially if they 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
- Men who regularly have close or intimate contact with other men, including meeting partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party
This story is developing. Check back for updates.