The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports today a probable case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult in North Central Iowa. Testing was conducted by the State Hygienic Lab in Coralville.
The patient was likely infected during international travels and is isolating, receiving outpatient care and in regular communication with health department staff. HHS staff and local public health are conducting contact tracing with local health partners to identify anyone who may be at risk due to direct close contact with the patient while infectious. People with direct close contact are directed to watch for symptoms of illness and are offered a vaccine series that can prevent symptoms from developing or developing severe illness. The CDC does not recommend broader use of the vaccine at this time; however, their evaluation of vaccine guidance is ongoing.
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people without close contact, like:
- 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.
Risk to the general public is low, but anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
People who may be at higher risk might include but are not limited to those who:
- Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox.
- Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party).
- Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing.
If possible, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox.
Over 5,700 cases have been reported internationally. In the U.S., 460 cases have been reported across 32 states. Over the last month, HHS staff have been working with health care providers and community partners to promote awareness of monkeypox, including what symptoms to look for, how to test for it, and ways to help prevent transmission. More information about the virus and how to limit infection risk can be found on the monkeypox page on the CDC website.