Lee County health officials confirmed that a county resident has tested positive for monkeypox, marking the first confirmed local case since the global outbreak began earlier this year.

As of today, there are 346 confirmed cases in North Carolina — 99 percent of those infected are men, according to the N.C. Dept.  of Health and Human Services. The first confirmed statewide case occurred on June 23.

Lee County Health Director Heath Cain released the following statement today: “The Health Department is committed to protecting the public health and safety of all Lee County residents during this public health emergency.  The department understands the public interest in learning more about the positive cases in Lee County, but the department has a responsibility to maintain and protect patient privacy.  It is important to know the risk factors for contracting the virus, where and when to seek testing, and where to receive the vaccine if necessary.”

Monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact, contact to or sharing of contaminated linens or exposure to respiratory droplets through prolonged face-to-face contact. The virus typically begins with early symptoms of fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion followed a few days later by a rash.

The current risk to population is low, according to Cain. Testing is available at the Lee County Health Department. For more information, call (919)718-4640.

Vaccination locations can be found at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/monkeypox/monkeypox-vaccine-locations.