The back surfaces of the hands of a monkeypox case patient in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during a monkeypox outbreak in 1997. | Photo: CDC / Brian W.J. Mahy

Lake County health officials announced Wednesday the first probable case of the monkeypox infection in a resident in Lake County.

The Lake County Health Department said the initial testing was completed on Monday at an Illinois Department of Public Health laboratory.

Confirmatory testing is pending at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials consider it a probable monkeypox infection based on initial epidemiologic characteristics and the positive orthopoxvirus result at IDPH.

The Lake County Health Department and IDPH are working closely with the CDC, the patient and the patient’s healthcare providers to conduct contact tracing and identify anyone who may have been in contact with the patient while infectious.

This is the only identified probable monkeypox case in Lake County so far, the health department said.

The CDC reports 306 confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States this year.

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“Individuals should be aware of how the virus spreads and the signs and symptoms of monkeypox in order to seek medical attention if they develop,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department.

“While infection typically begins with flu-like symptoms, some individuals may get a rash first followed by other symptoms. Others will only experience a rash,” Ahmed said.

Health officials say monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the risk to Lake County residents remains low.

Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that belongs to the orthopoxvirus family.

Most infections of monkeypox last two to four weeks and resolve on their own. Some cases can become severe.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash that looks like pimples or blisters can appear on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body.

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Monkeypox does not spread easily between people without close contact, the health department said.

Person-to-person transmission is possible through close physical contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids and respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

Anyone who thinks they may have monkeypox is asked to contact their healthcare provider.