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Douglas County has first confirmed case of monkeypox

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A Douglas County resident has a confirmed case of monkeypox, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health announced Tuesday.

This is the third case of monkeypox in Kansas, with the first two reported in Shawnee and Johnson counties.

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“The individual in question was tested by KDHE’s health and environmental laboratory and both the individual and their close contacts have been treated with a vaccine shown to be effective against Monkeypox,” according to a news release from LDCPH. “At this time vaccine is in very limited supply and it is important for all residents to be aware of the symptoms and take steps to avoid exposure.”

Symptoms in typical cases can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion followed by the appearance of a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that may appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest, or genitals, according to the release.

“Not all cases will show symptoms before the onset of a rash, so KDHE strongly recommends anyone experiencing symptoms of a Monkeypox-like rash with other risk factors contact their health care provider as soon as possible.”

If Douglas County residents have been exposed to monkeypox or are exhibiting clear symptoms, “they must call Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health’s clinic at 785-843-0721 to arrange testing,” according to the release.

More information from the release:

“Monkeypox spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious lesions, scabs, body fluids, or by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread through direct contact with materials that have touched body fluids or lesions, such as clothing or linens. However, standard cleaning practices and laundering reduces spread through these materials. Individuals are considered infectious from the onset of symptoms until lesions have crusted, those crusts have separated, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath. 

“The incubation period of Monkeypox is usually from 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. Initial symptoms usually include fever, fatigue, headache and enlarged lymph nodes. A rash often starts on the face and then appears on the palms, arms, legs, and other parts of the body. Over a week or two, the rash changes from small, flat spots to tiny blisters that are similar to Chickenpox, and then to larger blisters. These can take several weeks to scab over and fall off.”

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment phone bank is available to answer general questions. Call 1-866-KDHEINF (1-866-534-3463) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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