Case of monkeypox confirmed in Woodbury County

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 10:16 AM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Officials have confirmed a case of monkeypox in Woodbury County.

The Siouxland District Health Department confirmed the case to KTIV Tuesday morning. Officials say they will not be releasing any details on the person with monkeypox or when they got it.

Local health officials say it’s important to note that monkeypox is only spread through direct skin-to-skin contact. This is different than how COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus.

“In this day and age, we got to, we got to compare monkeypox to COVID. And honestly, I don’t even compare the two. COVID is spread through aerosol droplets, microscopic droplets. Monkeypox is spread by direct skin to skin close intimate contact with other people’s lesions or body fluids,” said Tyler Brock, the deputy director of Siouxland District Health.

According to the CDC, there have been a total of seven monkeypox cases in Iowa. While in Nebraska there have been five and in South Dakota there has been one. Throughout the U.S. the CDC has confirmed over 3,400 cases of monkeypox with 99% of them among men who reported having sex with other men. A few days ago the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global emergency, with over 70 countries reporting the disease.

Brock says though the disease is primarily moving through men who have sex with men, anyone could contract the disease. U.S. health officials have confirmed that there have been at least two children who have contracted monkeypox and at least eight women.

“We are aware of a suspected case of monkeypox in our region. While the risk of getting infected with monkeypox is low, everyone should be aware of its symptoms and how it spreads.

Monkeypox is spread through prolonged direct contact with a symptomatic individual. Symptoms of monkeypox may include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that looks like pimples or blisters. The rash usually develops after other symptoms and may appear on the face, inside the mouth and other parts of the body such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.

If you have a rash that looks like monkeypox, we encourage you to contact your primary care provider.”

Statement from UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's about monkeypox

Brock added that the smallpox vaccine could be effective against monkeypox because the two diseases are similar. Siouxland District Health has enough smallpox vaccine to administer 50 two-dose courses. Right now, Brock said, the smallpox vaccine is being given to those in the early stages of monkeypox symptoms after those symptoms emerge.

Because smallpox is largely eradicated, Brock said there is not enough vaccine available to inoculate everyone before they contract the virus like the United States does with COVID-19 and the seasonal flu.

“So it is something that is around in the world, you know, from time to time, it hasn’t done what it’s doing now, where it’s spread throughout the world. That’s new,” said Brock.

So if you believe you have monkeypox, the health department recommends you contact a primary care provider who can then refer you for a test, which the health department has on hand. If necessary, the health department can then administer that two-dose vaccine.

Copyright 2022 KTIV. The Associated Press contributed to this article. All rights reserved.