The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has identified the first probable monkeypox (MPV) case in an Oakland County resident.
Preliminary testing completed at the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories returned a presumptive positive result for Orthopoxvirus. MPV belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family of viruses and confirmatory testing is underway at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The individual is currently isolating and does not pose a risk to the public. MDHHS is working with local health departments to notify any close contacts. To protect patient privacy, no further case details will be provided.
“MDHHS works closely with local health departments and providers across the state to protect the health of Michigan residents through rapid detection and response,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Monkeypox is a viral illness that spreads primarily through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, bodily fluids or prolonged face-to-face contact. It is important to remember that the risk to the general public is low. However, Michiganders with concerns about monkeypox should see their provider to be evaluated for testing.”
Since the beginning of the current global outbreak, 5,115 cases have been confirmed in 51 countries, including the United States. The CDC reports that there are 306 confirmed cases in 27 states and D.C.
Infection may begin with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes that progresses to a rash on the face and body. Symptoms of MPV can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.
MPV is contagious when a rash is present and up until scabs have fallen off. Symptoms generally appear one to two weeks after exposure and infection, and the rash often lasts two to four weeks. Persons experiencing MPV symptoms should contact their health care provider for evaluation. It is important to note that anyone can contract and spread monkeypox, but early data from this outbreak suggest that men who have sex with men make up a high number of initial cases.
Providers should first consult their local health department or MDHHS if MPV is suspected to coordinate specimen collection and testing. Due to the often atypical presentation of MPV in this outbreak, we are encouraging clinicians to have a high level of suspicion for MPV, especially in persons with reported risk factors. Updated guidance for providers is available from both MDHHS and the CDC.
There are no treatments specifically for MPV infections. However, MPV and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat MPV infections.
Antivirals, such as tecovirimat, may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.