RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health announced five additional presumed monkeypox cases in Virginia Wednesday.

With the new additions, the total number of monkeypox cases reported in Virginia is now eight since May.

To date, most, but not all, cases have occurred in persons who identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men (MSM). Few hospitalizations and one death have been reported globally in this outbreak thus far. As of June 28, CDC had reported 4,769 cases of monkeypox identified in 49 countries; 306 cases were reported in the United States.

The new cases are adult male residents of the northern (3), eastern (1) and southwestern (1) regions of Virginia who were exposed to other people with monkeypox. All the patients are currently isolating.

Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness, characterized by a specific type of rash. Rash lesions can begin on the genitals, perianal region, or oral cavity and might be the first or only sign of illness.

Co-infection with sexually transmitted infections have been reported. Some patients also have fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and/or swelling of the lymph nodes before developing a rash. Symptoms generally appear six to 14 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks. 

As with many viral illnesses, treatment mainly involves supportive care and relief of symptoms.  Person-to-person spread occurs with close contact or with direct contact with body fluids or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or linens.

If you have symptoms consistent with monkeypox, seek medical care from your healthcare provider, especially if you are in one of the following groups:

  • Those who have had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Those who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men
  • Those who traveled to places or attended events where monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the month before symptoms appeared
  • Those who have had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet from Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websitethe World Health Organization website and the VDH website.