First confirmed case of Monkeypox in Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WGRZ/WHEC) — The Erie County Department of Health says it was notified by the state’s lab that the county had its first positive case of Monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a viral infection that does not usually cause serious illness but in rare instances could result in hospitalization or death, according to the Erie County Health Department.

County health officials say the person who tested positive is in isolation and does not pose a risk to the general public. The ECDOH Office of Epidemiology is conducting contact tracing to see if any other residents have been exposed to the virus.

Those who have been diagnosed with Monkeypox have reported being in close physical contact with other people who have Monkeypox. It can be transmitted by respiratory droplets or prolonged face-to-face contact or with contaminated matter such as clothing or bed sheets.

Health officials say that many of those affected in the current outbreak are men who have sex with men, but anyone in close contact with an infected person can get the virus.

"Monkeypox is primarily spread by close contact and exposure to an infected person’s skin lesions, other bodily fluids, or respiratory droplets," Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said in a statement. "While many of those affected in the current global outbreaks are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, the virus does not know its host’s sexual orientation. Anyone in close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness. Anyone who develops a new, unexplained rash on any part of the body should seek medical attention immediately and avoid contact with others. Unlike respiratory viruses that spread through exposure to infected respiratory aerosols or droplets, the general public is not at risk of exposure, through usual everyday activities.

The incubation period for Monkeypox is one to three weeks after exposure and can last two to four weeks. Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. A rash could also develop one to three days after the onset of illness, and look like pimples or blisters that can appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body.

The ECDOH is coordinating with the state to vaccinate high and intermediate-risk close contacts of the confirmed case.

Members of the general public who were not in close contact will not be provided a vaccine at this time.

For more information:

Erie County Department of Health, Monkeypox

New York State Department of Health, Monkeypox

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monkeypox