Home Monkeypox in Virginia: First case confirmed by VDH in Blue Ridge Health District

Monkeypox in Virginia: First case confirmed by VDH in Blue Ridge Health District

Virginia Department of HealthThe Virginia Department of Health has announced the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the Blue Ridge Health District. The case was confirmed on July 11. This brings the total number of cases in Virginia to 40.

The Blue Ridge Health District is one of 35 health districts under the Virginia Department of Health. The district includes Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties and the City of Charlottesville.

The new case is an adult male resident of the northwestern region of Virginia. The patient is currently isolating.  To protect patient privacy, no further information will be provided. The health department is identifying and monitoring the patients’ close contacts.

Multiple countries, including the United States, are currently experiencing a monkeypox outbreak. To date, most, but not all, cases have occurred in persons who identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men, according to a news release from the VDH.

Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness, characterized by a specific type of rash. Some patients also have fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and/or swelling of the lymph nodes before developing a rash. Symptoms generally appear six to 14 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks.  Person-to-person spread occurs with close contact or with direct contact with body fluids or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or linens.

If you have symptoms consistent with monkeypox, seek medical care from your healthcare provider immediately, especially if you are in one of the following groups:

  • Those who have had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Those who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men
  • Those who traveled to places or attended events where monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the month before symptoms appeared
  • Those who have had contact with household items, such as towels, bedding or clothing, used by a person with suspected or known orthopox or monkeypox virus infection
  • Those who have had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet from Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

According to the BRHD, widespread vaccination against monkeypox is not recommended. Instead, the vaccines are recommended only for individuals at high risk of exposure.

VDH is working to expand vaccine access for Virginians who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox.

Learn more about monkeypox in Virginia by calling (877) 829-4682 or click here.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.