The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), working with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, has identified a presumptive positive case of monkeypox in Kansas based on testing at the Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories. This is the first presumptive positive case in Kansas.
The patient is an adult resident in Johnson County, KS who recently traveled out of state. To protect the individual’s privacy, no additional information will be shared at this time. The patient is working with KDHE to identify contacts who may have been exposed.
“The risk of monkeypox spreading in Kansas remains low,” Janet Stanek, Secretary of KDHE, said. “If you are experiencing symptoms of monkeypox, it’s important to stay home and contact your health care provider as soon as possible to avoid spreading the disease to others.”
In typical cases, a person may experience symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion followed by the appearance of a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that may appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest, or genitals. However, it is important to note that not all cases will show symptoms before the onset of a rash, so KDHE strongly recommends anyone experiencing symptoms of a monkeypox-like rash with other risk factors contact their health care provider as soon as possible. Risk factors for monkeypox infection include the following scenarios within 21 days of first symptom onset:
- Contact with a person or people with a similar appearing rash or who received a diagnosis of confirmed or probable monkeypox, OR
- Close or intimate in-person contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity including meeting partners through an online website, digital app or social event, OR
- Recent travel outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where Monkeypox virus is endemic, OR
- Contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that is an African endemic species or used a product derived from such animals (game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)
The monkeypox vaccine is available to those with a known exposure to a confirmed monkeypox case; however, with the vaccine supply extremely limited in the United States, residents who have not been contacted by KDHE or clinic partners are not able to be vaccinated at this time. KDHE will expand eligibility as additional doses are available.
The KDHE Phone Bank is available to assist in answering general questions about monkeypox. Individuals can call 1-866-KDHEINF (534-3463) Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or can email their questions.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious lesions, scabs, body fluids, or by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread through direct contact with materials that have touched body fluids or lesions, such as clothing or linens. However, standard cleaning practices and laundering reduces spread through these materials. Individuals are considered infectious from the onset of symptoms until lesions have crusted, those crusts have separated, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath.
The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. Initial symptoms usually include fever, fatigue, headache and enlarged lymph nodes. A rash often starts on the face and then appears on the palms, arms, legs, and other parts of the body. Over a week or two, the rash changes from small, flat spots to tiny blisters that are similar to chickenpox, and then to larger blisters. These can take several weeks to scab over and fall off. For more information about monkeypox visit the KDHE monkeypox webpage.