CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – The Iowa Department of Public Health reported the state’s first case of Monkeypox Friday as part of a global outbreak of the virus.
Health officials believe the person from north-central Iowa got the disease while traveling internationally. That person is now isolating and recovering.
Iowa is the 31st state to report at least one case of the virus, with densely populated states like New York, California, Illinois and Florida reporting the most. That’s not surprising if you know how the virus spreads.
Here’s what you should know.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Monkeypox starts off similar to many viral infections with a fever, sore throat and fatigue. Then the most telltale sign of monkeypox can form: the rash with blisters that look like pimples. Those blisters can appear in any area of the body, including inside the mouth. The rash goes through several phases but typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
HOW IT SPREADS
According to the CDC, the monkeypox virus is not as easily transmitted as COVID-19 or the flu. Instead, monkeypox needs even closer contact to spread.
- direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
A person who has monkeypox can spread the disease the entire time symptoms are present until the rash has completely healed.
TREATMENTS AND VACCINES
Most cases resolve on their own in 2-4 weeks but those with weaker immune systems may get treatments to prevent complications. There are no specific treatments for monkeypox but it is similar to the smallpox virus, so the CDC says those treatments may be used for monkeypox patients, along with other antiviral treatments.
There are two vaccines for monkeypox but both have limitations. One is in low supply, though more doses are expected soon, and the other has a risk of complications for people with certain health conditions. Right now, the CDC is not recommending a widespread vaccination effort in the U.S.
People who received the smallpox vaccine may get some protection from it, but the CDC it is not lifelong protection. The smallpox vaccine has not been widely administered in the U.S. since the virus was declared eradicated in 1972.
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