The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is reporting its first case of monkeypox in an individual in eastern North Dakota. The individual likely acquired monkeypox while traveling out-of-state. Preliminary testing performed at the NDDoH Laboratory Services Section confirmed the person to be infected with orthopoxvirus. The sample will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing.
The individual who tested positive is currently isolating. The NDDoH is conducting contact tracing to identify anyone who may be at risk due to close contact with the patient while infectious. People identified as close contacts are being asked to watch for symptoms of illness and will be offered post-exposure monkeypox vaccination.
"The risk for monkeypox continues to be low in North Dakota,” said Brenton Nesemeier, field services supervisor. “It is important to note that anyone can get monkeypox. Early identification of cases is important to prevent the spread of monkeypox, so the public should be aware of symptoms and seek care and testing from a trusted health care provider.”
Monkeypox is a viral illness that typically begins with “flu-like” symptoms, such as fever, malaise, and swollen lymph nodes. Most with monkeypox will go on to develop a rash with maculopapular lesions, on some part or parts of the body. Individuals are considered contagious from the beginning of their symptoms until the lesions crust and scab over. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment.
The virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact, but transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact. People with unknown rashes or lesions should contact their health care provider for an assessment and avoid sex or being intimate during that time. Those at risk for monkeypox include people who recently traveled to other countries, had close contact with someone who has monkeypox in a social network, including meeting partners through online websites, digital applications or social events where monkeypox infections have been reported.
Most cases of monkeypox identified during this outbreak have experienced mild symptoms, with relatively few hospitalizations, and zero reported deaths. Some individuals positive for monkeypox have required medical care or hospitalization to manage symptoms of pain or discomfort due to the associated rash.
Last week, North Dakota received a limited number of monkeypox (JYNNEOS™) doses.
“Close contacts of positive monkeypox cases will be prioritized for vaccination, followed by individuals who may be at high risk for having been exposed to a positive case in the last two weeks,” said Danni Pinnick, immunization surveillance coordinator.
For more information on monkeypox, please visit https://health.nd.gov/monkeypox