Virginia Department of Health Announces First Death of Person Diagnosed with Monkeypox in the State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 1, 2022

Virginia Department of Health Announces First Death of Person Diagnosed with Monkeypox in the State

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is reporting the first death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox, now known as “mpox,” in Virginia. The patient was an adult resident of the Eastern Health Region of Virginia

To protect patient confidentiality and family privacy, VDH will not be releasing any additional information about the death.

“Our thoughts are with the decedent’s family at this difficult time,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “Mpox is a serious disease, especially for those with weakened immune systems. If you have been exposed to mpox or have symptoms consistent with the disease, we urge you to seek medical consultation now.”

People should contact their healthcare provider if they have fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash. People who are diagnosed with mpox should stay home and avoid close contact with others until the rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed. 

For most people, infection with mpox is painful but not life threatening. 

Mpox is a preventable disease that spreads from person to person through close contact. There are things everyone can do to help prevent the spread of mpox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone with a new, unexplained rash.
  • Do not share cups, utensils, bedding or towels with someone who is sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after contact with infected people or animals.
  • Wear a mask in situations where you may have lengthy or close face-to-face contact with people who may be infected.
  • For those eligible, consider discussing the JYNNEOS vaccine with your healthcare provider.

People who may have been exposed to mpox should receive the vaccine as soon as possible to reduce the chance of developing mpox after exposure. The vaccine is most effective if administered within 4 days of exposure, but it may be administered up to 14 days after exposure. Contact your local health department to see if you are eligible for vaccination and to find out where it is available. Healthcare providers with patients at high risk of severe illness should work with their local health department to facilitate administration of the JYNNEOS vaccine and options for treatment of mpox. For more information, healthcare providers can access the Healthcare Providers website for mpox. 

VDH has the latest information available to the public at its mpox website. The site also includes information about cases and vaccines administered in Virginia. The VDH call center is another source of information regarding mpox and vaccination and treatment options; call (877) VAX-IN-VA – (877) 829-4682 – Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with assistance in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages. TTY users may dial 7-1-1.