First Case of Monkeypox Identified in Maine
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the first case of monkeypox in Maine.
Health officials reported Friday a male resident of York County contracted the rare disease. A private lab conducted the initial testing that identified this case of monkeypox. Maine CDC is working to identify any others who may have been exposed and make vaccination available to any close contacts.
“While this is the first case of monkeypox identified in Maine, Maine CDC has been preparing for a case for several weeks given the international outbreak,”said Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah. “This disease is rare and the risk to the general public remains low.”
Maine has received a monkeypox vaccine called Jynneos from the federal government, with sufficient doses to vaccinate 311 people. The CDC is making the vaccine available to close contacts of identified cases as well as those at risk of transmitting monkeypox or becoming severely ill.
Anyone who believes they may have been exposed or who has a new or unexplained rash or lesions should contact a health care provider to be evaluated and tested.
The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. Transmission of monkeypox requires close interaction with a symptomatic person, such as physical, skin-to-skin contact, including during sexual contact. It can cause a rash or sores (pox) and is sometimes preceded by a flu-like illness. Officials say the disease can be painful and disfiguring, and in rare cases leads to severe illness and hospitalization. It is rarely fatal.
Health officials say the best strategy to prevent the spread of monkeypox is to:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups or handle the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The current global outbreak of monkeypox began in May. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s monkeypox outbreak tracker, as of July 21 there have been 2,593 identified cases across the United States and a total of 15,848 cases across 72 countries.
To learn more, visit the Maine Department of Health and Human Services