Officials from the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first presumed case of human monkeypox in the state Thursday afternoon.

The case was identified in an adult showing mild symptoms in the Capital Region near Washington, D.C., according to a news release.

Human monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox, but it generally causes a milder infection. It can be spread between people through direct contact with skin lesions, body fluids or contaminated materials, such as clothing or linens. It can also be spread through large respiratory droplets, which generally cannot travel more than a few feet, and with face-to-face contact.

Officials wrote that no additional precautions are recommended for the general public at this time.

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“Although human monkeypox is a rare infection in the United States, this Maryland case and other cases in the region and country remind us that we need to be prepared and take steps to prevent infection and its spread,” said Maryland Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan.

“MDH will continue to work with local and federal public health authorities and communicate responsibly with Maryland residents as we learn more,” Chan said in the release.

According to the state health department, the individual is currently recovering in isolation and is not hospitalized. The initial testing was conducted at the State Public Health Laboratory and is awaiting confirmatory testing by the CDC.

The World Health Organization is establishing a new name for the virus.

Current CDC data indicates cases have been identified in at least 20 states across the country.

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While the risk of human monkeypox transmission remains low, those who have who traveled to central or western African countries or parts of Europe where monkeypox cases were reported within the past month are encouraged to seek medical care immediately.

MDH provides human monkeypox information and resources for residents and clinicians on its website. Visit

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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