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DES MOINES, IOWA — The Polk County Health Department has confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the county. Health officials say the the patient likely contracted the virus during recent travel within the United States. Health officials aren’t releasing any details about the patient’s identity but say the person is isolating and receiving outpatient care.
Health officials are working with the patient to identify anyone who may be at risk for infection. Monkeypox is a viral infection that is spread through skin-to-skin contact, through body fluids or through shared bedding or clothing. A vaccine is available that can prevent severe symptoms from developing.
Health officials are warning Iowans to be aware of the risks of the disease, but not to fear an infection. “The risk of monkeypox in the general population remains very low,” Helen Reddy, Director of the Polk County Department of Health said in a press release, “However, it is important for community to be aware of this virus including transmission, prevention and when it’s appropriate to seek medical care.”
Symptoms of monkey pox include flu-like illness, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes and a rash with blisters. Health officials say anyone experiencing these symptoms whose traveled to a region where monkeypox cases have been reported should contact their health care provider.