The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) today announced the first probable case of monkeypox in the state. A PCR test conducted by the Department’s Public Health and Environmental Laboratories confirmed the presence of orthopoxvirus in a North Jersey individual on June 18. A confirmatory test for the monkeypox virus – one of the viruses associated with the orthopoxvirus genus – will be done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Department of Health believes that the risk to New Jerseyans remains low.
At the direction of NJDOH, the individual is isolating at home. The local health department is conducting contact tracing to identify any individuals who may have been exposed to the individual. No additional details related to the case will be released due to patient confidentiality.
Most New Jersey residents are not at risk of infection with monkeypox. Monkeypox is rare but 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. To date, confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases have been reported in 20 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC.
In humans, monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox, and begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion 7−14 days after infection, according to the CDC.
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.
NJDOH had alerted local medical professionals and local health departments to monitor for cases. For more information about monkeypox, see CDC: Monkeypox.