The Kansas City Health Department (KCHD) and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced Saturday a single probable monkeypox case in a Kansas City, Missouri, resident with recent out-of-state travel history.
“This week, one of our excellent nurses suspected one of our patients may have monkeypox virus,” said Dr. Marvia Jones, Director of the Kansas City Health Department. “We are considering this a probable case of monkeypox virus until we receive final confirmation from the CDC labs. We appreciate the work our disease investigation and nursing staff have done to educate themselves on this rare virus and be on alert for it.”
Initial testing was completed June 18, 2022, at the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory, and confirmatory testing for monkeypox is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on initial epidemiologic characteristics and the positive orthopoxvirus result at the state laboratory, health officials consider this a probable monkeypox infection.
KCHD disease investigators are working to determine if the patient may have been in contact with any individuals while infectious. Health officials will make notification with any individuals if they are deemed at risk for exposure. This contact tracing approach is appropriate given the nature and transmission of the virus. The person did not require hospitalization.
There is no indication there is a great risk of extensive local spread of the virus, as monkeypox does not spread as easily as the COVID-19 virus. Person-to-person transmission is possible through close physical contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family, and typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks. Monkeypox is typically endemic to parts of central and west Africa, and people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.
Beginning in 2022, multiple cases of monkeypox have been reported in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including the United States. On May 18, 2022, a U.S. resident tested positive for monkeypox after returning to the U.S. from Canada. As of June 18, 2022, the CDC reports 113 confirmed cases of orthopox/monkeypox across multiple states. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox, but early data from this outbreak suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of initial cases.
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