Baton Rouge, La. (July 12, 2022) — The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is reporting two new cases of monkeypox infection in Louisiana residents. Both individuals are from LDH Region 1 (Orleans, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Bernard). No further information will be shared about these cases to protect the patients’ privacy.
This brings the total number of monkeypox cases in Louisiana residents to three. Last week LDH identified its first monkeypox case in a Louisiana resident, also in Region 1.
There are likely more undiagnosed human cases of monkeypox in Louisiana than have been formally tested and identified to date.
LDH is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the patients’ healthcare providers to identify and notify individuals in Louisiana who may have been in contact with the patients while they were infectious. LDH has kept providers in Louisiana up to date, urged providers to be on the lookout for symptoms in patients, and shared specific monkeypox reporting and specimen submission guidance.
Since May 2022, 866 monkeypox cases have been identified in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Globally, 9,647 cases have been reported from 63 countries; the case count continues to rise daily. Information about international cases is available from the World Health Organization and information about U.S. cases is available from the CDC.
There have been no deaths in the U.S. to date.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. Illness could be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with chickenpox. Most infections last two to four weeks.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads in different ways. Monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus.
It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact, including kissing, cuddling or sex.
People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
According to the CDC, early data suggest that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.
What should individuals with concerns do?
People can take basic steps to prevent the spread of monkeypox. Anyone with concerns that they have been exposed or infected should refrain from intimate or close personal contact and seek medical attention. If you do not have a healthcare provider, you can visit a parish health unit near you. Locate a parish health unit in your area at ldh.la.gov/phu
If you are waiting for test results, follow the same precautions.
People with monkeypox who do not require hospitalization should be isolated at home.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus
Sometimes people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Some cases in the current U.S. outbreak have experienced only isolated rashes in the genital region or other body parts.
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