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Virginia adds 5 monkeypox cases to statewide count

The Virginia Department of Health said the cases in northern, eastern, and southwestern parts of the state brings the number of cases in the state to eight.

RICHMOND, Va. (DC News Now) The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) said Wednesday that there were five additional presumed monkeypox cases the state, which brings the total number of monkeypox cases in Virginia to eight since last month. 

VDH said the new cases involved men of the northern (3), eastern (1) and southwestern (1) regions of Virginia who were exposed to other people with monkeypox. All patients were isolating, and VDH was identifying and monitoring the patients’ close contacts.

The health department said in most cases worldwide, the people affected by the illness identified as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men (MSM). Few people have had to be hospitalized and only person has died since outbreaks started in a number of countries.

As of June 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had reported 4,769 cases of monkeypox in 49 countries; 306 cases were in the United States.

Monkeypox is potentially serious viral illness, and comes with a specific type of rash. Lesions can begin on the genitals, perianal region, or oral cavity and might be the first or only sign of illness. Some patients also have fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and/or swelling of the lymph nodes before developing a rash. The symptoms usually show up six to 14 days after exposure. For most people, the symptoms clear up within two to four weeks.  Person-to-person spread occurs with close contact or with direct contact with body fluids or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or linens. 

There is no approved treatment for monkeypox in the United States, but some treatment options may be help. It mainly involves supportive care and relief of symptoms. For patients who have severe illness or are at high risk of developing severe illness, treatments can be accessed through the federal government with VDH coordination. Two vaccines are available through the federal government that are administered post exposure for people who had close contact with a person with monkeypox and are at highest risk of exposure. 

Virginia Department of Health said if you have symptoms that are consistent with monkeypox, you should get help from your health care provider right away, particularly if you are in one of the following groups:

  • Those who have had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Those who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men 
  • Those who traveled to places or attended events where monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the month before symptoms appeared 
  • Those who have had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Those who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men 
  • Those who traveled to places or attended events where monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the month before symptoms appeared 
  • Those who have had contact with household items, such as towels, bedding or clothing, used by a person with suspected or known orthopox or monkeypox virus infection 
  • Those who have had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet from Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

VDH said the federal government is expanding monkeypox vaccination access for people at risk and working to make testing more convenient for health care providers and patients. The health department said it was working with its federal partners to make services more accessible to people who live in Virginia.

For more information, visit the VDH websiteCDC website, and the World Health Organization website



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