The first probable case of monkeypox has been identified by New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The likely case was identified in a Rockingham County resident, according to the Portsmouth Herald. The case was identified through Public Health Laboratories testing, and is being verified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the case is not considered a substantial threat to public health and the risk to the public is very low, according to Jonathan Ballard, chief medical officer of the New Hampshire DHHS. State officials are working to determine if any other New Hampshire residents may have been exposed to monkeypox or are likely to contract the virus.

Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. Most human cases have been in central and west Africa, where the disease is endemic.

The illness was first identified by scientists in 1958 when there were two outbreaks of a “pox-like” disease in research monkeys — thus the name monkeypox. The first known human infection was in 1970, in a 9-year-old boy in a remote part of Congo.

Monkeypox typically spreads by skin-to-skin contact, or contact with contaminated clothing or bedding. Most patients suffer fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. Others might develop a rash and lesions. The virus is thought to be deadly for one in 10 people, according to health experts.

Cases of monkeypox have been identified in Massachusetts and 26 other states, including the District of Columbia, according to U.S. CDC data. No cases have been identified in Maine as of Wednesday evening.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.