First probable monkeypox case reported in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Division of Public Health and Central District Health says an Idahoan has the first probable case of monkeypox in the state. 

Officials believe the person became infected while traveling to a country with a monkeypox outbreak. Health officials on the state and local levels are now working with the CDC and the patient’s healthcare providers to make sure they are OK and contacts are notified. The patient is currently recovering and lives in the Central Health District Area.

Results from the CDC are expected in the next few days.

Monkeypox causes mild illness, but individuals with monkeypox are asked to isolate until they are fully healthy. The virus is usually found in several countries in Africa. 

Over 6,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported outside of Africa, with 560 of them coming from the United States. Of the 560 cases reported in the U.S., no one has died.

“This is a virus that does not naturally occur in the United States,” Victoria O’Dell, staff epidemiologist with Central District Health, said. “The cases we have seen in the U.S. and the one possible case in Idaho have been associated with international travel or importing animals from areas where the disease is more common.”

Monkeypox spreads through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs or body fluids, as well as coughing or other forms of respiratory droplets.

People with monkeypox might have flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes days before a rash appears. A person who has monkeypox is contagious from when they develop symptoms until they are fully healed.

“We are reminding people to look out for new spots, ulcers, or blisters on any part of their body,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, public health medical director and state epidemiologist. “If anyone suspects they might have monkeypox, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner, they should limit their contact with others and contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible–although please phone ahead before going in person.”

  • You can avoid a monkeypox infection by doing the following: 
  • Wash your hands, especially after contact with possibly infected people (or animals) and contact with materials like bedding that have touched any lesions.
  • Limit direct contact with anyone who has a new rash.
  • Stay home except for medical appointments if you have a new rash.
  • Isolate from household members and pets if you have a new rash.
  • Wear personal protective equipment if caring for someone with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with animals or animal products from central and west Africa. No animals in the United States are known to have been infected with the monkeypox virus in this outbreak.

More information on monkeypox can be found here.

READ: How monkeypox compares to other familiar viruses