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First Case Of Monkeypox Identified In Westchester

Monkeypox Photo Credit: CDC

As the number of monkeypox cases continues to expand across the state, the first reported case in Westchester County has been confirmed, bringing the suspected case count statewide to 21.

The latest number from the state Department of Health includes 19 monkeypox cases in New York City and one case each in Westchester and Sullivan counties.

"The Westchester County Department of Health was notified that the first individual from Westchester County has been confirmed to have orthopoxvirus also known as Monkeypox," said Catherine Cioffi, director of communications for the department. 

The details of the infected case have not been released publicly.

Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler reminds county residents that the risk for monkeypox remains low, but that residents should all be alert and seek care if they have symptoms consistent with the virus. 

 “Those who experience symptoms consistent with Monkeypox, such as rashes or lesions, should contact their doctor immediately," said Amler. "At this point, transmission is occurring mostly with skin to skin contact with infected individuals.”

Monkeypox is a contagious disease caused by a virus that is rare in the US, said the state Department of Health.

And while the risk to the general public remains low, the monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus, the department said.

In New York City health officials said the current cases are primarily within the gay community.

"The current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, so this community is now at greater risk of exposure," said the NYC Department of Health.

Human symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox, the CDC said. 

The virus produces flu-like symptoms accompanied by lymph-node swelling and rash on the face and body.

Monkeypox starts off with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Most infections last two to four weeks, CDC officials said.

Those who experience symptoms should contact their health care provider for a risk assessment, the department said.

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