The City of St. Louis Department of Health is reporting the city’s first probable case of monkeypox. The department is awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The individual likely contracted the virus outside of the state during recent travel. An investigation shows the individual has had minimal contact with the public, and any potential close contacts have been notified.
“Through this individual’s cooperation with the Department of Health, we believe their minimal contact with other individuals will help contain the spread of this virus within our community,” says Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, director of health for the City of St. Louis. “At the same time, it is important that if anyone develops symptoms of monkeypox, they should contact their medical provider immediately and avoid direct contact with others.”
The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- 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.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
The virus can spread from when symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. It can spread through person-to-person contact, including:
- Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified three previous cases of monkeypox in Missouri. None of the previously reported cases are in the City of St. Louis. For additional information on monkeypox, please visit the CDC’s website on the virus.