The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed a third case of monkeypox in the state Friday.
An Atlanta man who recently traveled to Chicago for a convention has been diagnosed with the disease, DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said. The man’s case is unrelated to the previous two cases identified in the state.
The man is isolating and contact tracing has started, Nydam added.
The first suspected monkeypox case in Georgia was identified on June 1. The DPH noted a second case earlier this week at its monthly board meeting.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes the skin to break out in pustules. It was first detected in laboratory monkeys and then discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The disease is usually mild but can be life threatening in some cases.
The current outbreak is unusual because 1,285 cases have confirmed in 28 countries where the disease is not typically found. The disease is considered endemic to certain central and western African areas.
Most of the cases in the current outbreak have been identified in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal. So far, the CDC has identified 100 cases in 20 states and Washington, D.C.
The cases in the current outbreak appear to have been transmitted through very close personal contact with someone else who had the lesions, state epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek said at a Board of Public Health meeting this week.
Often, the monkeypox infections have been found in people also infected with chlamydia, HPV or syphilis, and many of the people with the disease identify themselves as men who have sex with men, Drenzek said.
People diagnosed with monkeypox in the current outbreak are not reporting the initial fever and gland swelling usually experienced at the start of the infection.
The rash also differs from that seen in typical monkeypox cases, with fewer lesions that are less pronounced than those usually seen. In the current outbreak, the rash often begins in the genital and perianal region and tends to progress more rapidly than in usual cases, Drenzek said.
There are currently no monkeypox-specific treatments, but medicines developed to treat smallpox can be helpful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two vaccines for monkeypox, according to the CDC.
“Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their health-care provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox,” the CDC advises. “The threat of monkeypox to the general U.S. population remains low.”
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.