RICHMOND, Va. – On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health released a statement with an update on the rising number of monkeypox cases in Virginia.
According to the release, there are now five additional presumed cases of monkeypox in the state, bringing the total number of cases to eight since May 2022.
The confirmed patients are all adult male residents, the VDH said. Three reside in northern Virginia, one resides in eastern Virginia and one resides in southwestern Virginia.
The five patients were all exposed to other people with monkeypox, according to the VDH.
The release said that all patients are currently in isolation and the health department is continuing to identify and monitor the patients’ contacts.
The VDH did not disclose the patient’s specific locations to protect patient privacy.
Monkeypox, which is part of the same viral family as smallpox, is a virus that originates in wild animals such as rodents and primates, and occasionally is contracted by humans.
According to the VDH, monkeypox is a rare viral illness that is transmitted through close contact with an infected person or animal. Person-to-person spread occurs with prolonged close contact or direct contact with body fluids. It also can occur through contact with contaminated materials like clothing or linens.
“Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness, characterized by a specific type of rash. Rash lesions can begin on the genitals, perianal region, or oral cavity and might be the first or only sign of illness,” the release said.
The VDH said that the spread of monkeypox occurs with close contact or with direct contact with body fluids or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or linens.
And symptoms generally appear six to 14 days after exposure, according to the VDH. They can include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and/or swelling of the lymph nodes before developing a rash.
The VDH added that for most people, symptoms clear up within two to four weeks.
There is currently no approved treatment for monkeypox in the U.S., but the release said that treatment for symptoms can be beneficial.
And, according to the VDH, two vaccines are also available through the federal government as postexposure prophylaxis for people who had close contact with a person with monkeypox and are at the highest risk of exposure.