LANSING, MI – The first probable case of monkeypox has been detected in Michigan.
State health officials said Wednesday an Oakland County resident recently underwent testing at a state lab and was presumptive positive for Orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses that monkeypox (MPV) belongs to.
Confirmatory testing of the case is underway at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Oakland County resident is isolating and does not pose a risk to the public, according to the June 29 news release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
MDHHS is working with local health departments to notify any close contacts of the person. To protect the person’s privacy, MDHHS officials say they will provide no further details about the case.
“MDHHS works closely with local health departments and providers across the state to protect the health of Michigan residents through rapid detection and response,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive at MDHHS.
“Monkeypox is a viral illness that spreads primarily through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, bodily fluids or prolonged face-to-face contact. It is important to remember that the risk to the general public is low. However, Michiganders with concerns about monkeypox should see their provider to be evaluated for testing.”
In the U.S., there are 306 confirmed cases of monkeypox across 27 states and Washington, D.C., according to the CDC. A total of 5,115 cases have been confirmed across 51 countries, including the U.S., since the global outbreak began.
The virus is transmitted through skin-to-skin close contact with lesions, bodily fluids or other materials contaminated with the virus. The virus is not considered airborne, but it can be transmitted by respiratory droplets.
Bagdasarian previously told MLive that monkeypox is not the type of disease someone may catch from visiting a grocery store or interacting with a casual acquaintance. Bagdasarian said it requires much closer contact than that with a person who is infected.
State health officials say the infection may begin with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. The infection progresses to a rash on the face and body. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.
Those rashes can appear on the face and inside the mouth as well on other parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals and anus.
Symptoms typically appear one to two weeks after exposure and infection, according to the MDHHS. The rash often lasts two to four weeks.
Monkeypox is contagious starting when the rashes are present and up until the scabs have fallen off.
People experiencing these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation. State health officials say that while anyone can contract and spread the virus, early data suggests that men who have sex with men make up a high number of initial cases.
Healthcare providers who encounter a suspected case of monkeypox should first consult their local health department or MDHHS to coordinate specimen collection and testing.
State health officials are encouraging healthcare providers to have a high level of suspicion for monkeypox, especially in people with reported risk factors, due to the often-atypical presentation it the disease has.
While there are no treatments specifically for monkeypox, the virus is genetically similar to smallpox, meaning that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat MPV infections.
Antivirals like tecovirimat may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, such as patients with weakened immune systems.