Several Ada County residents this month have tested positive for mpox, the rare disease formerly known as monkeypox.
Central District Health said in a news release Tuesday that in addition to two mpox cases reported in Ada County on Nov. 2 — the first cases documented in Idaho this year — another four people in the county have tested positive for the virus. A case also was detected in Canyon County.
Three of the four Ada County patients reported no recent travel. In the first two cases, people had reported traveling outside the state, which the health district said could be related to their diagnoses.
Public health officials said in a news release that they are working with the patients to identify any potential close contacts and notify them of exposure risk.
What is mpox?
Mpox spreads through prolonged direct contact, and, rarely, by touching items like bedding or towels that are contaminated with the virus, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Most cases result in mild illness and a rash that looks like pimples at first and then blisters. The rash can show up all over the body or just in certain places, such as the face, hands or feet. The flu-like symptoms that accompany the virus can include sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, headache and tiredness.
A person with mpox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed, the health district said.
“To reduce the likelihood of more mpox in the Valley, people can cover any new bumps or sores before prolonged contact with others, use condoms during intimate activities, and get vaccinated if they haven’t already,” Central District Health staff epidemiologist Sarah Wright said in the news release.
The news release said people interested in getting the mpox vaccine should talk to their health care provider or a provider at CDH. The vaccine can help prevent mpox and make symptoms less severe if you still contract it.
Severe cases of mpox are rare, according to the Cleveland Clinic, but the disease can be fatal, and can lead to complications such as pneumonia or a brain infection.