Editor’s Note: This article’s headline has been changed to reflect a correction from the KDHE showing that it was a single case of monkeypox being identified, not a cluster as was originally reported.
The KDHE, working with the Shawnee County Health Department, has identified a probable case of monkeypox in Shawnee County based on testing at the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories and close contacts within the household. According to the KDHE, the individuals were exposed to an out-of-state visitor. All impacted individuals are working with the KDHE to notify contacts who may have been exposed.
The monkeypox virus can be spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. In the case of children, this could include, holding, cuddling or feeding children. Additionally, it could be shared through items such as towels, linens, cups or utensils that contain the virus.
“The risk of monkeypox transmission in Shawnee County continues to be low,” said Teresa Fisher, Director of SCHD. “The Shawnee County Health Department will continue to work in close collaboration with KDHE and our local healthcare partners. Should you be experiencing any symptoms consistent with monkeypox you should contact your medical provider immediately.”
A vaccine for monkeypox is available to those with a known high-risk exposure to a person with confirm monkeypox disease. However, as the vaccine supply is extremely limited in the U.S., residents who have not been contacted by the KDHE or clinic partners are not able to be vaccinated at this time. The KDHE will expand eligibility as additional doses are available.
According to the KDHE, a typical case of monkeypox involves symptoms of fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion followed by the appearance of a rash that can take on the appearance of pimples or blisters. These may appear on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest or genitals.
Not all individuals will have symptoms before the onset of a rash. The KDHE encourages anyone experiencing symptoms of a monkeypox-like rash with other risk factors to contact their health care provider as soon as possible. Risk factors for monkeypox infection include the following scenarios within 21 days of first symptom onset:
- Contact with a person or people with a similar appearing rash or who received a diagnosis of confirmed or probable monkeypox, or
- Close or intimate in-person contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, including meeting partners through an online website, digital app or social event, or
- Recent travel outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where the monkeypox virus is endemic, or
- Contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that is an African endemic species or used a product derived from such animals (game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)
If you think that you have been exposed to monkeypox or are exhibiting monkeypox-like symptoms, contact a health care provider.
The KDHE phone bank is available to help in answering general questions about monkeypox. Individuals can call 1-866-KDHEINF (534-3463) Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or send an email to email@example.com. Current case counts in the state and more information about monkeypox can be found by clicking here.
Previously, the KDHE identified a positive case for Monkeypox in Johnson County on July 9. This was the first presumptive positive case of monkeypox in Kansas.