Eastern, Iowa (IA) – Since July, local public health departments in Iowa have been coordinating with the state health department to investigate cases and contacts of monkeypox. The overall disease investigation process is similar to other public health disease investigation processes which includes community awareness, timely investigation and testing as well as follow-up as indicated. Monkeypox infection occurs through direct contact with skin (including monkeypox rash or sores) as well as body fluids. Monkeypox infection can also be shared by touching items like clothing or bedding that have been in contact with bodily fluids or the rash or sores. The virus can also be spread through exposure to secretions during prolonged close face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. Monkeypox is generally not considered a sexually transmitted infection, but can be transmitted during intimate contact.
People with monkeypox sometimes develop a flu-like illness with fever, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes followed by a rash. In other instances, people only develop a rash with or without swollen lymph nodes, that can look like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. People usually develop monkeypox 7 to 14 days (and up to 21 days) after being exposed.
One way to slow the spread of monkeypox is through vaccination. Currently, those individuals identified who have been exposed to a confirmed case of monkeypox are offered monkeypox vaccination with the Jynneos vaccine. Individuals who may be at high risk of contracting monkeypox, and have interest in receiving the Jynneos vaccine, should complete this survey to determine if they are currently eligible, and to register to receive the vaccine as it becomes more widely available. Due to limited quantities of vaccine, it may be several weeks or longer before individuals are notified of vaccine availability.
Local public health encourages the following individuals to call and seek guidance from their medical provider:
- Recent travel to an area where monkeypox cases have been reported and the individual has symptoms of monkeypox, especially a rash or sores. A list of the countries where monkeypox has been reported is located on the CDC website.
- Individuals with symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the characteristic rash or sores.
- Contact with a confirmed or suspected monkeypox case.
Healthcare providers and clinics should continue to maintain vigilance and consult with their infection prevention support or public health department on correct sample collection and testing.
For more information on testing and specimen collection, please visit the State Hygienic Lab: http://www.shl.uiowa.edu/testmenu/menupages/orthopoxvirus.xml
For more information on cases in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health is tracking cases and sharing information on their site here: https://idph.iowa.gov/ehi/monkeypox
More information on actions the community can take to protect themselves can be found here per your local health department:
- Linn County Public Health: https://www.linncountyiowa.gov/1695/Monkeypox
- Black Hawk County Public Health: https://www.bhcpublichealth.org/services/communicable-diseases
- Johnson County Public Health: https://emerging-public-health-issues-johnsoncounty.hub.arcgis.com/
- Scott County Health Department: https://www.scottcountyiowa.gov/health/post/monkeypox-information-resources