Advance Notice: Briefs

DHHS announces probable case of monkeypox in Michigan

By: - June 30, 2022 2:26 pm

In this 1971 Center For Disease Control handout photo, monkeypox-like lesions are shown on the arm and leg of a female child in Bondua, Liberia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said June 7 the viral disease monkeypox, thought to be spread by prairie dogs, has been detected in the Americas for the first time with about 20 cases reported in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. | CDC/Getty Images)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on Wednesday announced Michigan’s first probable case of monkeypox was detected in an Oakland County resident. 

Preliminary testing at the DHHS Bureau of Laboratories returned a presumed positive result for Orthopoxvirus. Monkeypox is part of the Orthopox family of viruses and confirmatory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is underway.

The infected individual is currently isolating as DHHS works to identify close contacts.  

“Monkeypox is a viral illness that spreads primarily through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, bodily fluids or prolonged face-to-face contact. It is important to remember that the risk to the general public is low. However, Michiganders with concerns about monkeypox should see their provider to be evaluated for testing,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, DHHS chief medical executive said in a prepared statement. 

Monkeypox infection may begin with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes that progresses to a rash on the face and body. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle and back aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash similar to pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body. 

The virus is contagious while the rash is present until the scabs fall off, with symptoms typically lasting two to four weeks. 

There have been 5,115 confirmed cases in 51 countries since the beginning of the global outbreak. According to the CDC, there have been 306 confirmed cases in 27 states and Washington, D.C.

DHHS advises anyone experiencing monkeypox symptoms to contact their healthcare provider. Providers are advised to keep a high level of suspicion for monkeypox infection and to contact their local health department of DHHS if monkepox is suspected to coordinate testing and specimen collection. Updated guidance for providers are available from DHHS and the CDC

While there are currently no specific treatments for monkeypox, drugs and vaccines used to protect against smallpox may be used to treat and prevent monkeypox infections. DHHS also said that antiviral medication may be recommended for patients who are more likely to become severely ill. 

States are not allocated monkeypox vaccines prior to identifying a case, said Lynn Sutfin, a public information officer for DHHS. DHHS is working with the local health department to identify high-risk contacts and will order vaccines as appropriate, Sutfin said. 

The department put in a request to the CDC and was told delivery would take 24 to 48 hours. There are no costs to anyone, Sutfin said. 

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Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson

Kyle Davidson is a reporting intern for the Michigan Advance. A recent MSU graduate, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He has reported on community events, breaking news, state policy, and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service.