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First probable monkeypox case reported in New Jersey

First probable monkeypox case reported in New Jersey

New Jersey detected its first probable monkeypox case, state health officials reported on Monday.

The New Jersey Department of Health said in a news release that a PCR test showed the virus present in an individual on June 18, but added the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will conduct a test to confirm the results.

The health department said the individual in question is isolating at home while state officials are contact tracing to find others who may have been exposed.

“The risk to New Jerseyans remains low,” the department said in the release. “Most New Jersey residents are not at risk of infection with monkeypox.”

Monkeypox, a rare disease and a cousin to the now-eradicated smallpox, has been reported in 20 additional states and Washington, D.C, this year.

The virus, which is spread through prolonged contact with an infected person or animal and usually through the transfer of bodily fluids or skin-to-skin contact, is endemic to Africa but has recently spread through Europe and North America.

Symptoms usually occur within 7-14 days and start with fever, headache, muscle ache and exhaustion. Monkeypox is also characterized by a rash or the swelling of the lymph nodes.

The disease has a very low mortality rate and no deaths linked to monkeypox have been reported in non-endemic countries this year.

Health officials say the best ways to protect one’s self are to check for symptoms, wash hands and laundry and avoid high-risk situations.