First Monkeypox case identified in Mississippi

Published 5:02 pm Monday, July 25, 2022

Monday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported its first case of Monkeypox in a state resident.

The specimen was tested at the MSDH Public Health Laboratory. An investigation to identify persons who may have encountered the patient while they were infectious is ongoing. Incubation of the disease after exposure is one to two weeks.

As of July 22, 2022, there have been 2,891 cases confirmed in the United States with no reported deaths. While this is Mississippi’s first reported case, it is likely more will be identified.

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Prior to July 22, Mississippi was one of only five U.S. states with no reported cases of the virus. Others were Vermont, Maine, Montana and Wyoming.

Transmission can occur with close skin-to-skin contact — kissing, cuddling or sex — with an infected person. Transmission can also occur by touching clothing or linens, bedding or towels of an infected person, or inhaling the respiratory droplets during prolonged close contact with an infected person.

“While anyone can get Monkeypox, many of the cases identified in the outbreak in the U.S. and globally have been among men who have sex with men,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus. Symptoms may start out as a fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and muscle aches, followed by a rash that starts out as flat and then advances to pimples, or blisters and ulcers on the face, body and private parts (sexual organs). The rash can be itchy and painful. It can be confused with sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis and herpes, or with chickenpox.

The illness typically lasts two to four weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has received limited doses of vaccine that will be used to treat those with MSDH identified individuals exposed to a case of Monkeypox.

Medical providers are encouraged to consider Monkeypox infection and to notify MSDH when evaluating patients with a rash, especially if there are known risk factors.