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First 'probable' Pa. monkeypox case found in Philadelphia resident

The recent monkeypox outbreak was first confirmed when a British resident contracted the infection about a month ago.

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced on Thursday that a city resident has been identified as a "probable monkeypox case" based on preliminary testing at the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of Laboratories.

The department is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC to investigate how the person was exposed as well as who they may have exposed to the infection, according to a press release. 

The health department also said in the release that in order to protect the resident's privacy, it will not be confirming any information about them. 

“The threat to Philadelphians from monkeypox is extremely low,” Health Department Acute Communicable Disease Program Manager Dana Perella said. “Monkeypox is much less contagious than COVID-19 and is containable particularly when prompt care is sought for symptoms. Vaccine to prevent or lessen the severity of illness is available through the CDC for high-risk contacts of persons infected with monkeypox, as is antiviral treatment for patients with monkeypox. I believe that residents and visitors should feel safe to do all the fun things Philadelphia has to offer, with the proper precautions.”

The recent monkeypox outbreak was first confirmed when a British resident contracted the infection about a month ago, and has since been confirmed in 29 other non-endemic countries, including here in the United States, the department went on. The outbreak has been confirmed in 19 states, and one death has been associated with this outbreak worldwide. 

Like most infections, monkeypox is spread through close, personal contact. According to the Philadelphia Department of Health, symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, and enlarged lymph nodes. Also, a rash often surfaces on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. This rash starts as small, flat spots that become tiny blisters similar to chicken pox. These spots will grow until the rash scabs over and falls off, which can take several weeks. When they fall off, the person is no longer infectious. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the department recommends that you contact your healthcare provider, get tested for COVID-19 to rule it out, and stay at home if at all possible. 

For more information on monkeypox, see the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s newly updated fact sheet.

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