Monkeypox case identified in Shawnee County

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:03 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Shawnee County Health Department announced Monday they identified a probable case of monkeypox in Shawnee Co.

The case was identified based on testing at the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories and close contacts within the household. Officials say the person was exposed by an out-of-state visitor. Officials also said the individuals involved are working with KDHE to identify contacts who may have been exposed. To protect their privacy, KDHE said no additional information about the individuals will be shared.

A monkeypox vaccine is available to people who have had a known, high-risk exposure to someone with a confirmed case. With limited vaccine supply in the U.S., KDHE said it will contact anyone who was exposed and is eligible for the vaccine. The agency said only those who are contacted will be able to get the vaccine.

Shawnee Co. health officials say the risk is low for most.

“The risk of monkeypox transmission in Shawnee County continues to be low,” said Teresa Fisher, Director of SCHD. “The Shawnee County Health Department will continue to work in close collaboration with KDHE and our local healthcare partners. Should you be experiencing any symptoms consistent with monkeypox you should contact your medical provider immediately.”

The monkeypox virus can be spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. In the case of children, this can include holding, cuddling or feeding children. Also it could be shared through items such as towels, linens, cups or utensils that contain the virus. In most cases of monkeypox, a person may experience symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion, followed by the appearance of a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that may appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest or genitals.

“Monkey Pox is mild and it’s usually self-limited,” Dr. Kavitha Rao, an infectious disease specialist for Stormont Vail, said. “Very rarely does it cause severe disease, so that’s a good thing about this. I think as long as people are aware and isolate and take care of themselves, I think they’ll be OK.”

However, it is important to note that not all individuals will have symptoms before the onset of a rash, so KDHE strongly recommends anyone experiencing symptoms of a monkeypox-like rash with other risk factors contact their health care provider as soon as possible.

The current case counts in the state and more information about monkeypox can be found on the KDHE monkeypox website.

Note: The headline on the initial news release from KDHE referred to the situation as a family cluster. KDHE has since clarified that the wording was an error, and only one probable case has been identified as of Monday, Aug. 8.

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