CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services just recently identified a first case of monkeypox from a resident in Berkeley County.

The patient decided to stay anonymous for respect and privacy reasons so no further information will be released.

Currently, the United States is experiencing a monkeypox crisis with over 600 cases that have been confirmed nationwide, and soon more cases will be in West Virginia following the weeks ahead of us.

The Department of Health and Human Services conducted the initial testing for this first possible outbreak of the monkeypox virus, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting the testing to confirm.

The Department of Health and Human Services Bureau for Public Health and the Berkeley County Health Department are working hard to figure out which other individuals may have been exposed to the virus.

According to Dr. Ayne Amjad, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health, she isn’t too worried about the virus being any type of threat to an individual’s health.

“The threat to West Virginians from monkeypox is extremely low. Monkeypox is much less contagious than COVID-19 and is containable particularly when prompt care is sought for symptoms.”

Dr. Ayne Amjad, Commissioner of

Monkey is only contagious through close, prolonged contact with an infected person. This can include coming into contact with skin lesions or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact. 

A vaccine is available through the CDC for high-risk contacts of persons infected with monkeypox, and an antiviral treatment for patients with monkeypox is available as well.

Dr. Amjad made a note that, “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.”

For any West Virginians and residents that are concerned about symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, and a new rash, please contact your health care provider for a second opinion. Healthcare providers and primary care physicians should request orthopoxvirus testing for patients at the state public health laboratory by calling their local health department or calling the Department of Health and Human Resources Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services at 304-558-5358 ext. 2.

To learn more and educate yourself about monkeypox, please visit https://oeps.wv.gov/monkeypox for more information.