June 18, 2022
City, State public health officials confirm first probable case of monkeypox virus in Missouri
Lisa Cox, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Michelle Pekarsky, Kansas City Health Department
(KANSAS CITY, MO) – The Kansas City Health Department (KCHD) and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced today a single probable monkeypox case in a Kansas City, Missouri, resident with recent out-of-state travel history.
“This week, one of our excellent nurses suspected one of our patients may have monkeypox virus,” said Dr. Marvia Jones, Director of the Kansas City Health Department. “We are considering this a probable case of monkeypox virus until we receive final confirmation from the CDC labs. We appreciate the work our disease investigation and nursing staff have done to educate themselves on this rare virus and be on alert for it.”
Initial testing was completed June 18, 2022, at the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory, and confirmatory testing for monkeypox is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on initial epidemiologic characteristics and the positive orthopoxvirus result at the state laboratory, health officials consider this a probable monkeypox infection.
KCHD disease investigators are working to determine if the patient may have been in contact with any individuals while infectious. Health officials will make notification with any individuals if they are deemed at risk for exposure. This contact tracing approach is appropriate given the nature and transmission of the virus. The person did not require hospitalization. To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed. State health officials including epidemiologists, disease control staff, and the laboratory are coordinating closely between KCHD and CDC.
There is no indication there is a great risk of extensive local spread of the virus, as monkeypox does not spread as easily as the COVID-19 virus. Person-to-person transmission is possible through close physical contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family, and typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks. Monkeypox is typically endemic to parts of central and west Africa, and people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.
Beginning in 2022, multiple cases of monkeypox have been reported in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including the United States. On May 18, 2022, a U.S. resident tested positive for monkeypox after returning to the U.S. from Canada. As of June 18, 2022, the CDC reports 113 confirmed cases of orthopox/monkeypox across multiple states. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox, but early data from this outbreak suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of initial cases.
According to federal health officials, clinicians should consider a diagnosis of monkeypox in people who present with a consistent rash, especially if they 1) had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox, 2) 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), 3) traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing, or 4) had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.).
People who have a new or unexplained rash, sores, or symptoms, or have a confirmed exposure should see a healthcare provider and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until they have been seen. If a person or their partner has monkeypox, they should follow the treatment and prevention recommendations outlined by their healthcare provider and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until all sores have healed or have a fresh layer of skin formed.
Suspected cases may present with early flu-like symptoms and progress to lesions that may begin on one site on the body and spread to other parts. Illness could be clinically confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus.
For more about this virus, visit the following pages: