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Suffolk County Health Department Announces First Case of Orthopoxvirus/Monkeypox

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services today announced the first individual confirmed orthopoxvirus, or monkeypox, case in Suffolk County. The person, who was seen by a local healthcare provider, is following isolation protocols from home. Testing for orthopoxvirus was conducted at the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center Laboratory.

Suffolk County health officials are communicating with the individual and will contact persons who may have been exposed. The case is one of 96 currently confirmed orthopoxvirus cases in New York State and approximately 400 in the United States to date.

“While the current risk to the general public is low, we urge the public as well as healthcare providers in Suffolk County to be aware that this rare virus has been found in the region and to know the signs and symptoms and manner of transmission of the monkeypox virus," said Suffolk County Health Commissioner Gregson Pigott.

Monkeypox can spread from person-to-person most often through direct and prolonged contact with the infectious rash, scabs, body fluids, or respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. It may also spread by touching items, such as clothing or linens with infectious body fluids. Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. The New York State Department of Health has alerted New York healthcare providers so they have information regarding reporting and case testing.

Recent monkeypox cases in the region have involved a rash that is often in the genital and peri-anal regions and may include other symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pain when swallowing, before or after the rash appearance. Most infections last two to four weeks.

Suffolk County residents can learn about monkeypox at the New York State Department of Health website: www.health.ny.gov/monkeypox

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