Modified: July 13, 2022 11:04am

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On July 12, 2022, the NYS Wadsworth Center Laboratory informed the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) that our community had its first positive case of Orthopoxvirus/ Monkeypox. The patient has been in isolation and does not pose a risk to the general public. The Erie County Health Department's Office of Epidemiology is now conducting contact tracing to determine if any additional residents have been exposed to the virus.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not usually cause serious illness but may result in hospitalization or death. People with monkeypox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox. Less common routes of transmission include respiratory droplets from prolonged face-to-face contact or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or bedding. While many of those affected in the current outbreaks are men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness.

Monkeypox has an incubation time of one to three weeks after exposure and typically lasts two to four weeks. The illness typically starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. A rash will develop one to three days after the onset of illness. The rash can look like pimples or blisters that can appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The rash starts as flat, red bumps, which can be painful, before turning into blisters and finally scabbing over.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein advises, "Monkeypox is primarily spread by close contact and exposure to an infected person's skin lesions, other bodily fluids or respiratory droplets. While many of those affected in the current global outbreaks are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, the virus does not know its host's sexual orientation. Anyone in close skin to skin contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness. Anyone who develops a new, unexplained rash on any part of the body should seek medical attention immediately and avoid contact with others. Unlike respiratory viruses that spread through exposure to infected respiratory aerosols or droplets, the general public is not at risk of exposure through usual everyday activities."

The ECDOH Division of Emergency Medical Services is coordinating with the New York State Department of Health to vaccinate high- and intermediate-risk close contacts of the confirmed case. Members of the general public who were not a close contact of a confirmed case will not be provided a vaccine at this time.

To protect patient privacy, no other information about this individual will be released at this time. 


Erie County Department of Health, Monkeypox:

New York State Department of Health, Monkeypox:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monkeypox: