Monkeypox: Kentucky, North Carolina confirm first cases of virus; US cases now total 199

Health officials in both Kentucky and North Carolina reported their states’ first monkeypox cases in recent days, bringing the nationwide total of confirmed and suspected cases to nearly 200.

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By 5 p.m. EDT Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed 199 cases across 25 states and the District of Columbia, and the World Health Organization had confirmed at least 4,106 global cases across 47 countries.

Meanwhile, an emergency WHO committee on Saturday stated that while the escalating monkeypox outbreak should be closely monitored, it does not warrant a global health emergency declaration at this point, The Associated Press reported.

The Kentucky case has been detected in a Jefferson County resident, state health officials confirmed Friday, noting that the patient remains isolated and contact tracing has begun, WKYT-TV reported.

“Identifying the first case of monkeypox in Kentucky is concerning but not surprising,” Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said in a prepared statement.

“Fortunately, the risk to the general public remains low. We continue to work closely with CDC and our local health department and healthcare partners to contain the spread of this virus,” he added.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday stated that the state’s first monkeypox case has been confirmed but did not provide any additional details about the patient or their location, WSOC-TV reported.

Typically endemic to parts of west Africa, monkeypox typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes before progressing to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks, KSDK reported.

In addition to fever, headache, back pain, muscle aches and low energy, monkeypox can also cause a rash and lesions on the face or genitals.

To date, California has confirmed the most infections with 51 cases, followed by New York with 35 cases and Illinois with 26 cases. Meanwhile, Florida has confirmed 16 cases; Massachusetts has confirmed 12 cases; Texas and the District of Columbia have each confirmed seven cases; Colorado and Hawaii have each confirmed six cases; Georgia has confirmed five cases; Maryland and Utah have each confirmed three cases; Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia have each confirmed two cases; and Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island have each confirmed one case, according to CDC data.

Per the global outlook, the emergency WHO committee stated Saturday that the outbreak should be “closely monitored and reviewed after a few weeks,” noting that a reassessment before then could be warranted if certain new developments emerge, such as cases among sex workers; spread to other countries or within countries that have already had cases; increased severity of cases; or an increasing rate of spread.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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