Mecklenburg County Public Health has confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the area, the county announced Monday, June 27. The news comes just days after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the state’s first case of the rare but potentially serious viral illness. Monkeypox typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
“Though this is the first confirmed case in the county, we know there are likely other cases,” county health director Dr. Raynard Washington said in a statement. The Mecklenburg resident with monkeypox is at home and in isolation, Washington said in a Monday afternoon news conference. The person is thought to have come into contact with the illness from an out-of-county resident, he said. Mecklenburg’s communicable diseases team has identified close contacts of that person and is working to vaccinate those people, he said.
There is not a specific vaccine for monkeypox, but Washington said public health officials are able to use vaccines that are typically used to prevent the spread of smallpox. The county received 40 smallpox vaccines from NCDHHS Monday, he said. Washington encouraged county residents with “concerning rashes” to contact their health care provider.
Monkeypox is typically spread by skin-to-skin contact, according to the county. Cases of monkeypox are continuing to rise across the country, Washington said. As of June 24, there have been 201 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.