NJ Dept. of Health reports a probable case of monkeypox; risk to New Jerseyans remains low


Laboratory testing | Source: National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK – A probable first case of monkeypox in New Jersey has been detected, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has reported.

In a press release, NJDOH said that a polymerase chain reaction (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.

According to NJDOH, the individual is isolated at home. It also said that most New Jersey residents are not at risk of infection with the disease. The local health department is conducting contact tracing to identify individuals who may have been exposed to the individual. Due to patient confidentiality, health authorities will not release additional details related to the case.

“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,” the NJDOH said. “To date, confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases have been reported in 20 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC.”

NJDOH also noted that 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. As a precaution, any New Jersey residents who experience a flu-like illness with swollen lymph nodes and rash 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 visit CDC: Monkeypox

The Philippine Consulate in New York has also advised the Filipino community on the monkeypox. “Kababayan in Jersey City are advised to report confirmed or suspected cases immediately to the local health department,” the advisory said.

-With Jay Domingo/PDM

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