First monkeypox case reported in Minnesota

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On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced the first case of the monkeypox virus infection in Minnesota. According to a statement from the MDH, the presumptive case was identified in the Twin Cities area. Health officials say the patient was likely exposed while traveling abroad in Europe.

It’s a man who is recovering.

MDH says it is conducting contact tracing with health partners to identify anyone who may have been at risk due to direct close contact with the patient while infectious.

“While the threat of monkeypox generally remains low, it’s important that everyone be aware of this disease, so that those at risk can seek medical care and get tested promptly if they believe they have symptoms,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a press release.

People with direct close contact are asked to watch for symptoms of illness.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. In this outbreak, some individuals have had a rash only and no other symptoms, and sometimes the rash consists of only a few sores. The rash can occur in the mouth, and there may be sores in the genital and anal areas. In other cases, a rash may be on the face and on other parts of the body.

According to health officials, the virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact. Transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact.

As of June 24, CDC reports 201 cases of monkeypox/orthopoxvirus in 26 other U.S. states. In recent months, more than 4,100 cases have been reported in 47 countries where the disease is not typically reported.

The illness typically lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment.

The Minnesota Department of Health has tips on ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox:

  • Practice good hand hygiene. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Minimize skin-to-skin contact with individuals who have been exposed to the virus or to those showing a rash or skin sores.
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in direct contact with someone with monkeypox.
  • Reach out to a health care provider if you develop symptoms, as early recognition and testing can help prevent further transmission.

More information about the virus and how to limit infection risk can be found on the Monkeypox page on the MDH website.