The Mississippi State Department of Health reported Monday afternoon the state has its first confirmed case of monkeypox, a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus.
Health department officials did not give an area of the state where the case was reported, but said others may have come in contact with the infected person.
“While anyone can get monkeypox, many of the cases identified in the outbreak in the U.S. and globally have been among men who have sex with men,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said in a news release.
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The specimen was tested at the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory.
An investigation is underway to identify anyone who may have come in contact with the patient during the infectious period. “It remains likely that other cases will be identified as well,” MSDH officials said.
MSDH has a limited number of vaccine doses that will be used to treat people exposed to MSDH-identified cases of monkeypox.
Other information was not readily available, but the department plans to hold a news conference “in the next 48 hours.”
In the meantime, here’s what we know:
- The World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.
- It takes about one to two weeks after exposure for the disease to develop, MSDH reported.
- Symptoms may appear as early as four days after infection or as long as three weeks, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.
- Monkeypox typically lasts two to four weeks, MSDH officials said.
- As of July 22, 2,891 cases have been confirmed nationwide. No deaths have been reported.
- Transmission can occur with close skin-to skin contact — kissing, cuddling or sex — with an infected person. Transmission also may occur by touching clothing, linens, bedding or towels of an infected person.
- Inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged close contact with an infected person may result in transmission of the disease.
- Symptoms may start out with fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache and muscle aches.
- A rash may follow, which starts out as flat then rises to form pimples, blisters or ulcers on the face, body and sexual organs. The rash can be itchy and painful.
- Monkeypox can be confused with chickenpox or sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and herpes, MSDH reported.
- Although monkeypox is a distinct virus, it is in the same family as smallpox — orthopoxvirus.
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