Probable monkeypox case identified in Michigan

Photo of Dominic Genetti
Monkeypox new disease dangerous over the world. High quality photo

Monkeypox new disease dangerous over the world. High quality photo

Berkay Ataseven/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has identified the first probable monkeypox virus case in an Oakland County resident. Preliminary testing completed at the state Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories returned a presumptive positive result for Orthopoxvirus.

Monkeypox belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family of viruses and confirmatory testing is underway at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The individual is currently isolated and does not pose a risk to the public, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The state Health and Human Services are working with local health departments to notify any close contacts.

“The state health department works closely with local health departments and providers across the state to protect the health of Michigan residents through rapid detection and response,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “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.”  

Since the beginning of the current global outbreak, 5,115 cases have been confirmed in 51 countries, including the United States. The CDC reports there are 306 confirmed cases in 27 states and the District of Columbia.  

Infection may begin with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes that progresses to a rash on the face and body.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include: 

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

A rash can also develop that looks like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.

Monkeypox is contagious when a rash is present and up until scabs have fallen off. Symptoms generally appear one to two weeks after exposure and infection, and the rash often lasts two to four weeks. It is important to note that anyone can contract and spread monkeypox, but data from this outbreak suggests that men who have sex with men make up a high number of initial cases.  

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox infections.