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First monkeypox case identified in Maine

The individual who tested positive for the virus is a male resident of York County, according to a Maine CDC release.

YORK COUNTY, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified its first case of the monkeypox virus. Maine now joins 44 other states that have reported at least one case of the illness.

The announcement comes nearly a month after the first probable case of monkeypox was identified in New Hampshire.

RELATED: NH identifies first probable case of monkeypox

According to a release issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine's first reported case is part of a national and worldwide outbreak.

The release says the person who tested positive for the virus is a male resident of York County.

According to the release, a private lab conducted the initial testing that identified the Maine monkeypox case. 

Symptoms of monkeypox include a rash or sores, bumps, and lesions that are painful. Some people may also experience flu-like symptoms, a fever, or fatigue.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says the virus spreads almost entirely through interpersonal, skin-to-skin contact.

He says intimate, and especially sexual contact, primarily spreads the virus.

"We're going to do what's best for people in Maine and try to minimize the chance that monkeypox spreads and maximize our chances of reducing the impact on those who are risk," Dr. Shah said. "Right now, the risk [to] the general public is low. And that's a good thing. Our goal is to keep it that way. We want to make sure that those who are at a higher relative risk have what they need to stay safe."

A monkeypox vaccine called Jynneos has been given to the state of Maine by the federal government. There are enough doses to vaccinate 311 people. Dr. Shah said that is not enough to stop the spread of the virus, but that the state should receive more doses in mid-August.

Shah said it is more important now than ever that people are candid about their sexual health history when meeting new people.

For more information about monkeypox, how it's spread, and how to prevent yourself from getting it, click here.

To view the U.S. CDC monkeypox outbreak tracker, click here.

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