Monkeypox cases are increasing in St. Louis and nationally.
In an effort to curb the spread of monkeypox in the state, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued an emergency order
requiring cases to be reported within one day of detection.
The emergency ruling puts monkeypox on par with other communicable diseases such as polio and cholera, which also must be reported as soon as detected.
"Reporting of the monkeypox virus has not been required in the past, but due to its severity and the rapid increase in the number of cases, it is imperative for the local health authority or DHSS to be notified within one day of detection in order to take the appropriate measures," the rule says.
The rule goes into effect August 29.
Monkeypox is in the same family of viruses as smallpox (and is not related to chickenpox, which is a form of herpes). The virus is spread through physical contact and touching personal items. It can also be spread through shared respiratory droplets via kissing or coughing and contact with the rash or scabs from the rash.
The illness begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes and then the rash appears as pus-filled bumps.
Sex worker Silver Steele documented his case of monkeypox on Twitter in detail. He said he had a lot of skin to skin contact at a Fourth of July party and, when he started to develop a rash, got tested for monkeypox. The results came back three days later. He told Rolling Stone
that he was sharing images and his story online because, "I want people to retweet it. I want my face and lesions to have visibility so people know how serious this is," he says.
Unfortunately, even if people do take the virus seriously, there is little they can do to protect themselves. The Post-Dispatch
reports that in Missouri demand far exceeds supply for the vaccine. The state already has 24 cases of the disease, and there are more than 12,600 cases nationally. Health officials in Missouri have restricted who can get vaccinated to those who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox and those at high risk of contracting the virus.
Health officials say that men who have sex with men have been most affected by the outbreak. Missouri DHSS is crafting a survey to identify those most at risk for monkeypox and to get them the vaccine.
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