The New Jersey Department of Health has confirmed the first case of monkeypox in Jersey City, the city tweeted this afternoon.
“The NJ Health Dept has confirmed the first case of monkey pox in Jersey City. Please visit the NJ Health Dept site, which is set up to provide all necessary info,” their first tweet on the subject says.
“Our health officials are working closely with the CDC. In an effort to keep you informed and updated, we will post any further information here as needed.”
The NJ DOH page they link to says that the first case of human monkeypox was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and while it is typically not an issue in the United States, cases have been confirmed in multiple stateside locations, including 23 in New York City.
“The virus can cause flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body,” the NJ DOH wrote.
In their FAQ sheet, they recommend preventing the virus by avoiding contact with any animals or people who are infected, as well as any material/clothing they have come in contact with, frequently washing your hands, and using PPE when caring for someone who is infected.
While the NJ DOH did not immediately return emails seeking comment, they said in a lengthy statement that a PCR test confirmed the presence of the orthopoxvirus in a “North Jersey individual” on June 18th and that risk to New Jerseyans remains low.
“A PCR test conducted by the Department’s Public Health and Environmental Laboratories confirmed the presence of orthopoxvirus in a North Jersey individual on June 18,” they began, also referring to the situation as the first probable case of monkeypox in the state.
“A confirmatory test for the monkeypox virus – one of the viruses associated with the orthopoxvirus genus – will be done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Department of Health believes that the risk to New Jerseyans remains low.”
They continued that the individual is isolating at home, per the direction of the NJ DOH, and that the local health department is conducting contact tracing to identify any other individuals who may have been exposed.
Due to patient confidentiality, no further information will be released from the state at this time.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from the New Jersey Department of Health.