Caroline MacGregor Published

W.Va. Sees First Probable Case Of Monkeypox


The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) confirmed Friday that initial testing has identified a probable case of the non-variola orthopox, commonly referred to as monkeypox, in a Berkeley County resident.

The DHHR is actively working to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

“Our state lab is able to test for monkeypox, said Dr. Ayne Amjad, the state health officer. “The CDC does confirm these cases as well but we still do have our first probable one.”

Amjad reminded West Virginians the risk of becoming infected is extremely low. She said when prompt care is sought for symptoms, the virus is containable.

“There is a vaccine for high risk individuals as well as health care providers who may come into contact – which is something as an option as well, that we are working on,” she said. “And, there are antiviral treatments for someone with monkeypox as well, if they are severely ill.”

Transmitted through close, prolonged contact with an infected individual, including skin lesions or body fluids, shared clothing or bedding; people can also become infected by the virus by inhaling respiratory droplets.

Symptoms include fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. In more serious cases, people may exhibit a rash and lesions.

West Virginia joins a growing list of states facing cases of the monkeypox virus. More than 600 cases have been confirmed nationwide.

The U.S. in recent weeks has taken a more aggressive approach to containing the virus. This includes access to vaccines, testing, and through educational efforts.

The World Health Organization indicates high risk populations, namely men who have sex with men, are becoming infected with monkeypox.

Of the 7,000 people diagnosed with the virus, only 10 of those are women and 25 are health care providers. Most people recover within two to four weeks. In rare cases, monkeypox can be fatal and result in more serious symptoms in children.