NJ monkeypox case investigated

The first suspected monkeypox case in New Jersey is being investigated by state health officials.

Officials would only say the person is from North Jersey.  A state lab confirmed the presence of Orthopoxirus on June 18.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing further testing to confirm the case.

The person is isolated at home, according to state health officials. Local health departments are also contact tracing to identify any individuals who may have been exposed.

No other information was made available due to patient confidentiality.

Officials say the risk of monkeypox remains low for New Jersey residents. Monkeypox 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.

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.

What is monkeypox?

According to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox is caused by a virus that is in the same genus of viruses that causes smallpox.

Monkeypox, according to the CDC, was first discovered in 1958, following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys that were kept for research.

The first human case of the disease was recorded in a country now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then, the disease has been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Cases have also been reported in the U.S., as well as a number of Asian, Middle Eastern, and European countries.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

According to CDC's website, it takes usually seven to 14 days from the time of infection for a person to start feeling symptoms of the disease, but the incubation period can also range from five to 21 days.

The illness, according to the CDC, begins with:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

CDC officials say within one to three days after the appearance of fever, the person infected will develop a rash, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash will eventually dry up and fall off.

According to the World Health Organization, symptoms of monkeypox typically last two to four weeks.

Can people die from monkeypox?

According to World Health Organization, the fatality rate for monkeypox varies between zero and 11% in the general population. The rate is higher among young children.

How does monkeypox spread?

CDC officials say monkeypox is spread when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus.

"The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth)," a portion of the website reads.

CDC's website states that human-to-human transmission of monkeypox "is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets," but other human-to-human transmission include "direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens."

How did monkeypox get to the U.S.?

According to Massachusetts health officials, the state's monkeypox case involved an adult man who recently traveled to Canada. Since then, monkeypox has also been detected in more 20 U.S. states, including New York.

Portugal and Great Britain were among the first places outside of Africa to report cases.