The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), working with the Shawnee County Health Department, has identified a probable case of monkeypox in Shawnee County based on testing at the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories and close contacts within the household. The individuals were exposed by an out-of-state visitor. To protect their privacy, no additional information will be shared. The individuals are working with KDHE to identify contacts who may have been exposed. If KDHE or Shawnee County Health Department does not contact you, you have not had a high-risk exposure to a case.
The monkeypox virus can be spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. In the case of children, this can include holding, cuddling or feeding children. Additionally, it could be shared through items such as towels, linens, cups or utensils that contain the virus.
The monkeypox vaccine is available to those with a known high-risk exposure to a person with confirmed monkeypox disease; 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.
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 individuals will have 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 the 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.)
If you suspect that you have been exposed to monkeypox or are exhibiting monkeypox-like symptoms, contact a health care provider.
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. – 5:00 p.m. or email their questions. The current case counts in the state and more information about monkeypox can be found on the KDHE monkeypox webpage.