BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is reporting its first case of monkeypox in an individual in eastern North Dakota.

According to a press release from the NDDoH, the individual likely acquired monkeypox while traveling out of state and the individual is currently isolating.

Preliminary testing performed at the NDDoH Laboratory Services Section confirmed the person to be infected with orthopoxvirus. The sample will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing. 

The NDDoH is also conducting contact tracing to identify anyone who may be at risk due to close contact with the patient while infectious. People identified as close contacts are being asked to watch for symptoms of illness and will be offered post-exposure monkeypox vaccination.

“The risk for monkeypox continues to be low in North Dakota,” said Brenton Nesemeier, field services supervisor. “It is important to note that anyone can get monkeypox. Early identification of cases is important to prevent the spread of monkeypox, so the public should be aware of symptoms and seek care and testing from a trusted health care provider.”

Monkeypox is a viral illness that typically begins with “flu-like” symptoms, such as fever, malaise, and swollen lymph nodes. Most with monkeypox will go on to develop a rash with maculopapular lesions, on some part or parts of the body. Individuals are considered contagious from the beginning of their symptoms until the lesions crust and scab over. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment.

The virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact, but transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact.

For more information on monkeypox, please visit https://health.nd.gov/monkeypox