OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The Oklahoma State Department of Health has identified its first probable case of monkeypox and is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to confirm the infection in a central Oklahoma resident with recent international travel to a country with confirmed cases.
The state health department would not clarify if the case was found in the Oklahoma City Metro area but did say they were notified earlier in the week of the case by a health care provider.
OSDH said the individual is currently in isolation and they are working to do contract tracing to see if that person may have exposed.
“As soon as we learned about the monkeypox outbreak in Europe our response team began working to coordinate areas within the agency to respond if a case was identified in Oklahoma,” said Jan Fox, Deputy Commissioner of Health Preparedness. “We are currently working through the case investigation and contact tracing. However, we do want to stress to Oklahomans that the general public is not at risk.”
Health officials say the virus is not easily transmissible, monkeypox can be transmitted to humans through direct, physical contact with an infected person or animal.
“It’s not something that if you’re out and about you’re going to have the risk of being exposed to monkeypox,” said Jolianne Stone, Oklahoma State Department of Health epidemiologist. “You have to be in close contact.”
Transmission can also occur between humans through respiratory droplets or through direct contact with bodily fluids and lesions.
Monkeypox symptoms can include fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, as well as firm, lesions.
During the weekly Healthier Oklahoma update, Oklahoma State Medical Association President Dr. David Holden, said we will likely see the virus spread.
“When you have one or two cases that you’re finding somewhere, you’re more certainly going to find more if you look properly.”
A person with monkeypox will not see symptoms for 21 days, according to the state health department.
“Again, one of the positive things with this virus is that it is not easily transmittable and that the primary way for this virus to be transmitted is going to be direct contact with those lesions.
“It is possible we could see other cases of monkeypox that could occur in the area because there are other cases occurring around the world. We are monitoring to see if any of those in close contact with this individual develop any symptoms.”
OSDH is advising clinicians to have a heightened awareness if a suspicious rash, consistent with monkeypox, shows up on someone who has traveled to countries with recently confirmed cases of the virus, reported having contact with a person or people who have similar appearing rash or have received a positive test result for monkeypox.
More information about monkeypox is available here.