CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) announced that it has identified the first probable case of monkeypox in West Virginia.

The case is a resident of Berkeley County, but no other information will be released, due to patient privacy.

The United States is currently experiencing a monkeypox outbreak with over 600 cases confirmed nationwide, according to the DHHR. A release from the DHHR also said that West Virginia will likely see more cases in the coming weeks.

DHHR’s Office Laboratory Services conducted the initial testing that identified this probable case, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting further tests to confirm. The Bureau for Public Health and the Berkeley County Health Department are working to identify others who may have been exposed.

“The threat to West Virginians from monkeypox is extremely low,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “Monkeypox is much less contagious than COVID-19 and is containable particularly when prompt care is sought for symptoms.”

According to the DHHR, Monkeypox can spread through close, prolonged contact with an infected person, including:

  • Contact with skin lesions or body fluids
  • Sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person
  • Inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact

Vaccines 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.  

“Over the past month, BPH has raised awareness of monkeypox among higher risk populations, alerted medical professionals, and informed local health departments throughout the state to monitor for cases,” noted Dr. Amjad. 

Symptoms include fever, swollen glands and a new rash. West Virginians who are concerned that they might be infected should contact their health care provider for evaluation. For more information, click here.