Updated: 12:55 p.m. | Posted: 9:25 a.m.
Minnesota health officials on Monday said a presumptive case of monkeypox has been found in a Twin Cities person who was likely exposed while traveling in Europe. It’s the first such case in the state.
In a statement, the Minnesota Department of Health described the threat of infection as low, adding that “the virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact, but transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact.”
“Monkeypox is less infectious than COVID-19, measles, chickenpox and influenza,” said state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm in a press briefing. “Monkeypox usually starts with symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, swollen glands, and fatigue followed by a rash. However, not everyone with monkeypox has these symptoms, and some will have only a rash.”
The Health Department said the “illness typically lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment.”
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The agency said it’s conducting contact tracing “to identify anyone who may be at risk due to direct close contact with the patient while infectious. People with direct close contact are asked to watch for symptoms of illness.” As of now, officials said in a press briefing that they don’t believe there are any high-risk contacts in Minnesota. The patient is receiving outpatient care.
As of June 24, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 201 cases of monkeypox in 26 other U.S. states. Though some physicians across the country have raised concerns that there are likely more positive cases in the U.S. than are being reported, due to low testing.
State health officials say they’re aware of these concerns, and are working with local providers to ensure testing is being done. Minnesota health officials also say that while they are expecting to see more positive cases, they wouldn’t recommend widespread vaccinations at this stage of the virus.
On June 25, the World Health Organization announced that while it is keeping a close eye on the monkeypox outbreak worldwide, it is not yet considered a public health emergency of international concern.