State health department announces first probable case of monkeypox in Indiana

The first probable case of monkeypox has been identified in Indiana, the state health department announced Saturday evening.

The patient’s test at the Indiana Department of Health Laboratories on Saturday was positive and a confirmatory test is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state health officials said.

Information about the patient, who remains isolated, was not released. Health officials are working to identify anyone the patient may have had close contact with while infectious.

The CDC is currently tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that don’t normally report it, including the United States, where 113 cases—not including the probable case in Indiana—had been reported to the CDC as of Saturday afternoon. Globally, more than 2,500 cases have been identified across 37 countries.

“The risk of monkeypox among the general public continues to be extremely low,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said in a news release. “Monkeypox is rare and does not easily spread through brief casual contact.”

Person-to-person transmission is possible either through skin-to-skin contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores or contaminated items, such as bedding or clothing, or through exposure to respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.

Monkeypox typically begins with fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and exhaustion about five to 21 days after exposure. Within one to three days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. Some people might only develop the rash. The illness typically lasts for two to four weeks. People are considered infectious until all scabs from the rash have fallen off.

Box encouraged Hoosiers to take the same steps they do to protect against any infection, including washing hands frequently and thoroughly and checking with a health care provider for any new signs or symptoms.

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