ST. LOUIS – A probable case of monkeypox is being reported in St. Louis City.
Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, the city’s director of health, said Tuesday the St. Louis Department of Health is awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The individual is believed to have contracted the virus while traveling outside Missouri. Dr. Davis said this person has since had minimal contact with the public and potential close contacts have been notified.
“Through this individual’s cooperation with the Department of Health, we believe their minimal contact with other individuals will help contain the spread of this virus within our community,” Davis said.
No additional information was provided regarding this individual’s travel.
Monkeypox (clinically referred to as orthopox) is in the same family of viruses as smallpox. Its symptoms are similar, though milder, to smallpox. It is important to know monkeypox can be fatal in rare instances. There are long-established vaccines and treatments for those infected.
According to the CDC, the monkeypox virus was discovered in 1958 in monkeys being kept for research. While the name of the virus is derived from its discovery, the actual source of monkeypox is unknown.
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970, in a child living in a remote rainforest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Monkeypox symptoms will present anywhere between seven and 14 days after exposure. The disease itself lasts two to four weeks.
Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle ache, backache, chills, and exhaustion. Pimple or blister-like rashes will appear on an infected person’s face or inside their mouth and eventually spread across the body.
The virus can spread from the time symptoms first appear until the rashes themselves have fully healed.
Monkeypox is spread through person-to-person contact, including (but not limited to):
- 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; and
- Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.
Infected pregnant people can also spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
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