An image of monkeypox virus particles collected from a sample linked with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Russell Regnery via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Genesee County, MI—Health officials have logged two probable cases of monkeypox in Genesee County, the first of which was announced on Aug. 26, 2022.

According to the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD), preliminary testing for both cases returned a presumptive positive result for orthopoxvirus. That’s the family of viruses to which the monkeypox virus belongs. While confirmatory testing is underway, the individuals are isolating and do not pose a risk to the public, GCHD states. Meanwhile, the public health department has been determining and notifying any close contacts.

As of Aug. 30, 2022, Michigan has 186 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 18,416 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 49,974 confirmed cases worldwide as of Aug. 30, 2022. There have been 15 confirmed deaths globally, and none has occurred in the U.S., per the CDC.

Experts say that people typically contract monkeypox via direct and prolonged contact with an infected individual. Cases worldwide have been reported mainly among males who have sex with males. But GCHD emphasized in a statement that “anyone can contract and spread monkeypox.” 

Monkeypox can spread through sex, kissing and hugging, the CDC says. Additionally, individuals can contract the virus by touching objects exposed to an infected person’s bodily fluids or infectious scabs. It is also possible for a mother to pass on the virus to the fetus during pregnancy. 

Officials advise those eligible for monkeypox vaccination to get immunized. Genesee County is mainly in the second phase of vaccination, the expanded post-exposure prophylaxis phase. As of Aug. 30, 2022, GCHD has administered 37 Jynneos vaccines for monkeypox prevention.

Below is the eligibility criteria for vaccination posted by GCHD:

(Photo courtesy of the Genesee County Health Department)

Officials also recommend reducing the number of sexual partners, understanding a partner’s sexual history, as well as avoiding skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual and sharing items with the infected person as ways to reduce the risk of infection.

Those who have been exposed to monkeypox or suspect that they have contracted the virus should consult their healthcare providers or the public health department. 

Visit the websites of GCHD and CDC for more information about monkeypox.  

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...