ATLANTA — Georgia officially has its first case of monkeypox.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said it received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that last week's orthopoxvirus case is indeed monkeypox.
CDC leaders reported the suspected case of the virus last Wednesday. The Atlanta-based federal public health agency reported an orthopoxvirus diagnosis in a metro Atlanta man. Georgia DPH health officials said he is still monitoring his symptoms in isolation as they continue contact tracing. CDC data shows that this is the only confirmed case of the virus in Georgia.
It is unknown how the man contracted the virus or where.
Executive Director of the COVID task force for Piedmont Healthcare System, Dr. Jayne Morgan, said while she expects more monkeypox cases to come up, it’s important to remember it is not as contagious as other diseases.
“A single case of monkey pox certainly isn't enough to stir any type of panic. From what I understand this is a single traveler who came to Atlanta after international travel and has been in isolation," she said.
The CDC's website updated Monday night, showing Georgia with its first case of monkeypox. As of Monday, Georgia now joins 12 other states with the rare disease.
“The R0 number, which is its reproduction number, is still quite low at less than one. That gives you an idea of just how contagious and transmissible it is, by comparison. COVID, the omicron variant, is probably at about 10 or 11. Measles may be at 11 or higher," Dr. Morgan said.
On June 1, according to the World Health Organization, there were 643 confirmed cases worldwide. That number rose to 780 the next day and Monday night sits at 1,019.
Currently smallpox vaccines and antiviral treatments can be used to control outbreaks. The Department of Health and Human services tells 11alive it has enough vaccines to manage the current outbreak.
“I don't believe that this is going to be available to the general public, possibly to health care workers who may be exposed if they're treating people or people who are ill who are in close contact with people who've had primary exposures," Dr. Morgan added.
Monkeypox was first reported in the United States in Massachusetts last month. That man had recently traveled internationally, health officials there said.
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.
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 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.