Charlotte, NC – The second case of monkeypox in North Carolina has been found in Mecklenburg County.
NBC affiliate WCNC reports this is the first confirmed case in the county, but county health leaders say there are likely other cases.
Last Thursday, the state Department of Health and Human Services said a case of the viral infection had been found in a North Carolina resident. While state health officials did not say where in North Carolina the case was found, the Haywood County health department confirmed a known case was there.
In both cases, county health leaders said the patients were isolating at home and people who were in close contact with the patients will be notified.
“It is very important to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox and to be vigilant,” said Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington. “Individuals with concerning rashes should contact their health care provider.”
Washington also encouraged doctors to consider monkeypox in people who have a rash or skin lesion resembling the infection.
“Although monkeypox remains rare, the CDC is reporting that cases continue to rise across the country,” he said.
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious, viral illness that involves flu-like symptoms swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over.
The virus does not spread easily, and can only spread through people who have had close contact. The most common way the infection is spread is when people come into close contact with the rash, scabs or bodily fluids of someone who has monkey pox. The infection can also spread through the air, but only to those very close, with face-to-face contact like kissing or snuggling.
There is no treatment specific to monkeypox, but because it is a virus, antiviral medications are often given to treat infections and to prevent them in people who may be exposed to the virus.
There is a vaccine to prevent monkeypox, but it is not used widely in the United States because historically the number of cases in the country has not been significant.