RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has announced the death of the first person diagnosed with monkeypox, now known as “mpox”, in the state.

The VDH said the victim was an adult who lived in the Eastern Health Region of the state.

“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.”

The announcement came just a day after Virginia announced the state’s first child to die from the flu.

The Department of Health is urging people displaying mpox symptoms — fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash — to contact their healthcare provider. Those diagnosed with mpox are advised to stay home and avoid close contact with others until symptoms are resolved.

Mpox prevention methods

  • 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.
  • Get vaccinated with the JYNNEOS mpox vaccine, if you are eligible.

People who may have been exposed to mpox should get the vaccine as soon as possible to reduce the chance of developing mpox after exposure. The vaccine is most effective if administered within four days of exposure, but it may be administered up to 14 days after exposure, according to the VDH.

The VDH said to contact your local health department to see if you’re eligible for vaccination and find out where it is available.