The Suffolk County Department of Health Services said Friday that the first case of orthopoxvirus, or monkeypox, had been found in the county.
The person, who was seen by a local healthcare provider, is following isolation protocols at 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 people who may have been exposed. The case is one of 96 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 Dr. 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 women 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.
Suffolk County residents can learn about monkeypox at the New York State Department of Health website: www.health.ny.gov/monkeypox