MARYLAND, USA — EDITORS NOTE: The video attached is for a story WUSA9 did on June 6, 2022.
There are now three presumed cases of Monkeypox infection that have been confirmed in Maryland, according to the state's health department.
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in confirming these cases. Officials say the patients are recovering and in isolation at home. MDH urges all people who have symptoms to seek medical care.
As of June 22, 2022, the U.S. reported a total 156 confirmed monkeypox orthopoxvirus cases, according to the CDC website.
The virus has previously been found in residents of D.C. and Virginia in recent weeks.
“Although human monkeypox is a rare infection in the United States, this Maryland case and other cases in the region and country remind us that we need to be prepared and take steps to prevent infection and its spread,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan.
The monkeypox virus is in the same family as smallpox, but "generally causes a milder infection," according to an MDH release. Symptoms typically appear within 7-14 days after exposure and clear up within two to four weeks.
"Individuals identified as having been potentially exposed to this case will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days after exposure," MDH said.
Experts say the virus can be spread between people through direct contact with skin lesions, body fluids or contaminated materials such as clothing or linens. It can also be spread through large respiratory droplets, which generally cannot travel more than a few feet, and prolonged face-to-face contact is required.
Presenting symptoms typically include fever, chills, new swelling of lymph nodes, and a distinctive rash that often starts on the face and spreads to other parts of the body; however, the onset of rash lesions elsewhere in the absence of other symptoms has been reported. Symptoms generally appear seven to 14 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks. Individuals identified as having been potentially exposed to this case will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days after exposure.
While the risk of human monkeypox transmission remains low, the public is strongly encouraged to stay alert for any symptoms of the illness and to seek medical care immediately, especially if you meet the criteria from MDH:
Those who traveled to central or west African countries, parts of Europe where monkeypox cases were reported, or other areas with confirmed cases of monkeypox the month before their symptoms began;
Those who have had close contact with a person with confirmed or suspected monkeypox; or
Those who have had close or intimate in-person contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, which includes men who have sex with men
RELATED: 4 Fast Facts about monkeypox