ATLANTA — Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that health officials are still testing Georgia's orthopoxvirus case to confirm if it is monkeypox. It is also unknown where or how the patient contracted the virus.
Georgia has reported its first potential case of monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Atlanta-based federal public health agency reported an orthopoxvirus diagnosis in a metro Atlanta male on Wednesday. Other orthopoxviruses include smallpox and less well-known viruses such as camelpox or cowpox. Officials in Georgia are still testing this orthopoxvirus case to fully confirm it is monkeypox.
Georgia Department of Public Health said officials are now contact tracing and monitoring the individual. He is currently in isolation at home, according to DPH.
Monkeypox was first reported in the United States in Massachusetts in May. That man had recently traveled from Canada, according to health officials there.
So far, Florida is the only other southern state to report cases of the illness. Other states such as Virginia and New York have also reported cases, CDC data shows.
Symptoms of the illness include a blister rash. The CDC also lists fever, chills and fatigue as known symptoms, with people reporting muscle aches and headaches.
World Health Organization leaders met earlier this week to discuss the spread of the virus. The organization's leading expert in monkeypox said she doesn't expect the infections to escalate into another pandemic, like with COVID-19, but emphasized there's still much to learn about the virus including how it is transmitted. Medical experts say monkeypox is known to spread through close physical contact with an infected person.
Those who contract the virus typically have symptoms for two to four weeks, according to the WHO. Global health leaders said that severe monkeypox cases happen in children "and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status and nature of complications."
There is currently no treatment to prevent or cure the virus but some patients are treated with the smallpox vaccine or antivirals according to the CDC.
No deaths have been reported in the outbreak beyond Africa.