The first probable case of monkeypox has been detected in New Hampshire, health officials said Wednesday, noting they are looking to identify anyone else who could have been exposed to the virus.
The person lives in Rockingham County, but the state Department of Health and Human Services didn't release more information about them, citing patient privacy. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was working to confirm that the case
"While this is a concerning development, the risk to the general public is very low," said Dr. Jonathan Ballard, the agency's chief medical officer, in a statement. "We are investigating this situation to determine whether additional people may have been exposed."
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An outbreak of the rare virus has been spreading across the country. There have been more than a dozen cases in nearby Massachusetts and over 200 nationwide, and the CDC on Tuesday expanded access to the vaccine.
Symptoms are usually mild, though they can sen some people to the hospital.
The virus, a cousin of smallpox, is spread through close interactions, usually intimate contact or physical examinations without appropriate protective equipment.
New Hampshire health authorities noted that anyone with a new rash or lesions on their skin should talk to their health care provider. Other symptoms, which usually proceed the rash or lesions, include fever, headache, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, cough and sore throat.
The illness takes two to four weeks to progress and patients are considered infectious until the last skin lesion scabs over and falls off.