A health care worker prepares monkeypox vaccine in Montreal, Saturday, July 23, 2022. Tourists are among those lining up to get monkeypox vaccines in Montreal, as the World Health Organization declares the virus a global health emergency. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported the first case of Monkeypox in Mississippi on Monday. 

The infected individual is a Mississippi resident and the infection was confirmed at the Mississippi State Department of Health Public Health Laboratory. The health department said that it is currently trying to identify people who may have encountered the infected person. 

Over the past few weeks, the Monkeypox virus has spread to dozens of countries and infected thousands. As of July 22, there were nearly 2,900 Monkeypox cases nationally, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Nearly all infections outside Africa have occurred among men who have sex with men.

Mississippi was one of the few remaining states with no reported cases before Monday. MSDH has received a limited number of doses of a Monkeypox vaccine that the department says will be used to treat individuals the department identifies who have been exposed to Monkeypox.

The monkeypox virus, which is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox, has not caused any deaths yet, but does produce painful symptoms.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include: Fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Infected persons often experience a rash that looks like pimples, or blisters that appear on many parts of the body. The illness typically lasts for two to four weeks.

Transmission often occurs through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Airborne transmission also occurs during prolonged close contact with an infected person.

The World Health Organization declared Monkeypox a global public health emergency on July 23, the first time it has taken this step  since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Monkeypox, COVID-19 and polio are the only diseases that have this designation.


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Will Stribling covers healthcare and breaking news for Mississippi Today.