First Likely Monkeypox Cases Reported in Indiana and Missouri

First Likely Monkeypox Cases Reported in Indiana and Missouri
An electron microscopic (EM) image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles as well as crescents and spherical particles of immature virions, obtained from a clinical human skin sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak in this undated image obtained by Reuters on May 18, 2022. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery/CDC/Handout via Reuters)
Jack Phillips

Two more states have announced probably monkeypox cases over the past weekend as the rare virus continues to spread across the United States.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services confirmed one case in Kansas City among a resident who traveled out of the state in recent days.

“This week, one of our excellent nurses suspected one of our patients may have monkeypox virus,” said Dr. Marvia Jones, Director of the Kansas City Health Department in a news release. “We are considering this a probable case of monkeypox virus until we receive final confirmation from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] labs. We appreciate the work our disease investigation and nursing staff have done to educate themselves on this rare virus and be on alert for it.”

There is no indication that there is an extensive local spread of monkeypox in Missouri, the agency said, which noted that the virus doesn't spread as quickly as COVID-19.

In Indiana, the state Department of Health said it was investigating a possible case of the virus. It did not disclose the location of the patient, saying the individual is currently in isolation.

“The risk of monkeypox among the general public continues to be extremely low,” Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said in a statement. “Monkeypox is rare and does not easily spread through brief casual contact. Please continue to take the same steps you do to protect against any infection, including washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, and check with a healthcare provider if you have any new signs or symptoms.”

Both health agencies noted that person-to-person transmission of monkeypox occurs through close physical contact, or through extended contact with contaminated materials such as clothing, linen, bedding, and other items.

"Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family, and typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks," according to the Missouri health agency. "Monkeypox is typically endemic to parts of central and west Africa, and people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products."

Health agencies around the world and in the United States have suggested that homosexual males appear to have an exceptionally high risk of transmitting the virus.

As of Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are about 110 monkeypox cases across multiple states and territories. California has the most cases with cases, followed by New York with 21. Officials say that Illinois is No. 3 with 15 reported cases.