Health officials confirm first probable case of monkeypox in Missouri

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Jun. 19—Missouri health officials on Saturday announced the first probable monkeypox case in the state, in a Kansas City resident who had recently traveled out of the state.

Initial testing was completed Saturday at the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory, and confirmatory testing for monkeypox is pending at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on initial epidemiologic characteristics and the positive orthopoxvirus result at the state laboratory, health officials consider this a probable monkeypox infection, according to a release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Disease investigators with the Kansas City Health Department are working to determine if the patient may have been in contact with any individuals while infectious, the state health department said. Health officials will notify any individuals if they are deemed at risk for exposure.

The patient did not require hospitalization, state health officials said. No further details about the patient were expected to be released, the state said.

State health officials said 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 such as clothing or bedding, or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness. It 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 two to four weeks.

Monkeypox is typically endemic to parts of central and west Africa. Multiple cases of monkeypox recently have been reported in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including the U.S. As of Saturday, the CDC reports 113 confirmed cases of orthopox/monkeypox across multiple states.