DC Health studying first potential case of monkeypox

D.C.’s health department sent an orthopox sample from a District resident to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing to determine whether it is a case of monkeypox.

D.C. Health said Sunday it may have found the first possible monkeypox case in the District.

The local health agency sent an orthopox sample to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing. Monkeypox is a virus in the orthopox family.

The sample comes from a District resident who reported recent European travel.

The patient is isolating and does not pose a risk to District residents, the agency noted in a news release on Sunday. No additional possible cases have been identified.

If the sample tests back positive, it will add to the list of 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S.

The virus is typically contained to West African nations, but the current outbreak is centered in Europe.

Starting in May, the United Kingdom began reporting monkeypox cases, as did a number of nations in Western Europe. By the end of May, there were over 200 cases reported in countries that are not normally associated with the virus according to the World Health Organization.

D.C. first issued a health notice for care providers outlining the symptoms and treatment protocols for the virus on May 26.

Virginia reported its first presumed case of monkeypox in May. So far, cases have been reported in 12 states, according to the CDC. As of June 3, there were 25 confirmed cases in the U.S.

Symptoms include headache, muscle aches, flu-like symptoms or fever and a rash or lesions.

Monkeypox is known to spread when there is close physical contact with an infected person, their clothing or bedsheets.

The World Health Organization’s top monkeypox expert last week said she doesn’t expect the hundreds of cases reported to date to turn into another pandemic.

WHO’s Dr. Rosamund Lewis said the vast majority of cases being seen in dozens of countries globally are in gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, so that scientists can further study the issue. She urged those at risk to be careful.

Lewis said it’s unknown whether monkeypox is being transmitted by sex or just the close contact between people engaging in sexual activity and described the threat to the general population as “low.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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DC Health studying first potential case of monkeypox