Monkeypox is officially in Oklahoma, after the state’s first “probable case,” reported Friday, was then positively confirmed by health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, officially identified a case of the monkeypox virus after the state Health Department announced it was isolating a central Oklahoma resident who had returned from another country where there are confirmed cases.
Health Department spokespeople said they worked quickly to isolate the resident and contact trace those whom the patient might have exposed since reentry.
“At this time we have identified all individuals that might be at risk of contracting monkeypox from this case,” said Erica Rankin-Riley, public information officer for the state Health Department. “(The Health Department) is working with the identified contacts to monitor their symptoms daily throughout their 21-day monitoring period.”
More:Monkeypox is now in 7 states. US health officials urge awareness, not fear.
Health officials reiterated their initial comments Friday that risk to the general public is low, and the virus is not easily transmissible.
“Current, available evidence suggests that people who are most at risk for infection are those who have had direct, physical contact with someone with monkeypox while they are symptomatic,” Rankin-Riley said.
Monkeypox, a less-deadly sibling of the virus that causes smallpox, has been endemic in parts of Africa for the past five decades. Since mid-May, monkeypox has been spreading across the globe, including in European and American countries.
As of June 13, at least 1,678 cases of monkeypox have been identified in 35 countries, according to the CDC. Of those confirmed cases, at least 64 are in the US, but the disease is so comparatively rare, authorities say, even one case is being considered an outbreak.
Monkeypox can be transmitted to humans by contact with an infected person or animal, through prolonged face-to-face contact or by direct contact with bodily fluids and contaminated materials. Early symptoms include fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes. Experts say an infected person also will begin presenting bloody, pus-filled sores called lesions.
USA TODAY:Monkeypox is here and spreading. But the US is well prepared to handle the threat.
To prevent contracting and spreading the virus, officials recommend practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding handling material, like bedsheets or clothes, that may have come in contact with a possibly infected person.
People also are encouraged to watch out for symptoms, especially if a person recently has traveled to a country with confirmed cases or has tested positive for monkeypox. Health officials recommended individuals infected with the virus isolate themselves in their home away from others.
“If someone believes they have symptoms consistent with monkeypox, we encourage that person to be seen by a health care provider,” Rankin-Riley said.