LDH reports first monkeypox case in Louisiana resident

The state department of health reported the first detected case of monkeypox in a Louisiana resident on July 7.

The person is from Louisiana’s Department of Health Region 1, which includes Orleans, Plaquemines, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes, according to the LDH. In addition, an out-of-state resident visiting Louisiana tested positive for monkeypox.

The LDH suggests in a press release that there are likely more undiagnosed human cases of the virus in the state than have been formally tested and identified.

Since May 2022, 605 monkeypox cases have been identified in 36 states. Globally, more than 7,200 cases have been reported from 54 countries; the case count continues to rise daily. Information about U.S. cases is available from the. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). There have been no deaths in the U.S. to date.

Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness that typically produces flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes, and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. Officials say the Illness could be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with chickenpox. Most infections last two to four weeks.

Monkeypox spreads in different ways. It is most often spread through direct contact with the rash or sores of someone who has the virus. 

It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding, and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact, including kissing, cuddling, or sex. 

People can also get monkeypox from infected animals. Infection can happen because of an animal scratching or biting someone or a person eating meat or using products from an animal with the virus.

People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

According to the CDC, early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever 
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills 
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus

Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Some cases in the U.S. outbreak have experienced only isolated rashes in the genital region or other body parts.

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