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Iowa continues testing for monkeypox
State public health department prioritizing post-exposure vaccines due to limited allocation
As Iowa reached its fifth confirmed case of monkeypox this week, state officials say 18 people have been tested for the infection so far.
The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed with The Gazette that the State Hygienic Lab had tested more than a dozen people as of Wednesday, but did not specify whether there were more probable cases among that group.
Currently, Iowa has a limited allocation of monkeypox vaccine, said Iowa public health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand. Because of this, vaccine administration has been prioritized for close contacts of infected individuals as a post-exposure prophylaxis.
Health experts say getting the vaccine after a recent exposure can reduce the chance of a person being infected with monkeypox, and it can help reduce symptoms if the individual does get it.
Should vaccine allocation to states increase, Ekstrand said the state public health department “may shift to a pre-exposure prophylaxis administration.”
Infection from the monkeypox virus occurs through skin-to-skin contact and through contact with an infected individual’s rash or sores, or touching the clothing and bedding that has been in contact with those rashes or sores. The virus also can spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, such as kissing.
Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, but it often spreads through intimate contact.
People typically develop monkeypox seven to 14 days after exposure, but it can take up to 21 days, public health officials said.
On Wednesday, Johnson County confirmed its first case of monkeypox, marking the fifth such case in the state since the virus was first detected in Iowa earlier this month.
Of the four previous cases, two have been confirmed in the central region, one in the northeast region and one in the northwest region, according to the state public health department.
The telltale symptom of monkeypox is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. These appear on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body like the hands, feet, chest or genitals.
Other symptoms include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
Local public health officials are encouraging the following people to seek guidance from their medical providers:
- Individuals who have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of monkeypox.
- Individuals who have recently traveled to an area where monkeypox cases are reported, especially if they have symptoms, such as a rash or sores.
- Individuals who symptoms are consistent with monkeypox, especially the characteristic rash and sores.
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