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1st case of monkeypox confirmed in Mecklenburg County

Health officials reported the first case of monkeypox in North Carolina last week.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Health officials confirmed the first case of monkeypox in Mecklenburg County Monday, just days after the first case of the illness was reported in North Carolina

Mecklenburg County Public Health said most monkeypox infections last 2-4 weeks. Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious, viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. 

Mecklenburg County health leaders are working with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the patient's health care provider to notify any individuals who were in contact with the patient while they were infectious. Monkeypox is typically spread through skin-to-skin contact. 

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County health officials said the patient is isolated at home. No further information was released due to the patient's privacy. 

"Though this is the first confirmed case in the county, we know there are likely other cases," Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington said. 

More than 3,300 monkeypox cases have been reported outside of endemic regions worldwide since May. 

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How monkeypox compares to COVID-19

The CDC still ranks monkeypox as "low" risk to the general U.S. population, since the virus does not spread easily without close contact.

"It is not in any way as easily spread as COVID or many of the infections we're used to, which is a good thing," Passaretti said. "It's not the same situation as COVID."

Since May 2022, more than 3,500 cases have been reported worldwide, with at least 172 cases identified in the United States. The World Health Organization has linked one death to this outbreak.

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