The first probable case of monkeypox has been detected in McHenry County, health officials said Saturday.
The case was identified in an adult who received a positive orthopoxvirus result, the McHenry County Department said in a Facebook post. Health officials were working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to conduct contact tracing and determine who may have been in close contact with the individual.
The latest case follows an uptick in infections nationwide. A total of 1,814 cases had been confirmed as of Saturday, according to the CDC. Illinois itself has reported 174 confirmed infections.
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Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness, which often begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body, health experts said. It was first observed in Africa in 1970, and is usually found in western and central portions of the continent.
The CDC said that “cases include people who self-identify as men who have had sex with men,” but emphasized that anyone can contract the illness through prolonged contact.
Health experts also said the illness can be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus.
Federal health officials are urging doctors in the U.S. to "consider a diagnosis of monkeypox in people who present with a consistent rash, especially if they meet any of the following criteria:
- Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
- Had skin-to-skin-contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity; this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (app), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
- Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
- Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.).
The virus is rarely lethal, with symptoms ranging from fever, aches and rashes all over the body.