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Rhode Island reports 1st probable case of monkeypox

June 9, 2022 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Public health officials in Rhode Island said Thursday they have identified the state’s first probable case of monkeypox.

A man in his 30s who lives in Providence County has tested positive for an orthopox virus, and confirmation for monkeypox is pending testing at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Rhode Island Department of Health said in a statement.

The case is believed to be related to travel to Massachusetts, where the first case in the U.S. this year was detected last month.

The Rhode Island man is hospitalized and in good condition. The heath department is conducting contact tracing to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the patient while he was infectious. Contacts will be monitored for three weeks after their last day of exposure.

“While monkeypox is certainly a concern, the risk to Rhode Islanders remains low — even with this finding,” interim Health Director Dr. James McDonald said. Vaccines are available, he said.

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Monkeypox is a rare disease from the same virus family as smallpox. In recent weeks, health authorities in Europe, North America, Israel and Australia have identified more than 100 cases of the disease outside of Africa, where it has long been endemic.