The first infection with a virus from the monkeypox family has been reported in the District of Columbia, according to city officials.
The resident is isolating himself and “does not pose a public health risk,” according to the D.C. Department of Health.
According to the department, a case of orthopox, a virus family that includes monkeypox, was reported on Saturday in someone who said they had recently travelled to Europe.
The health department said the samples were sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing and confirmation of the monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially fatal viral illness spread by direct contact with body fluid or monkeypox lesions. It’s more difficult to spread and control than highly transmissible viruses like the coronavirus.
Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and because it resembles smallpox, it can be treated with antivirals and vaccines that have been kept on hand in case of a smallpox outbreak. To prevent serious illness, vaccines can be given soon after exposure.
According to the city’s health department, there are currently 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States.
It was unclear how likely any orthopox infection would be monkeypox at the time.