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33 monkeypox cases in Minnesota, but MDH official believes number is higher

MDH officials said that people without monkeypox symptoms should not get tested, because the state only has the ability to test symptomatic people right now.

ST PAUL, Minn — The Minnesota Department of Health reports 33 monkeypox cases in the state, mostly with patients in the Twin Cities metro area. However, the state does have a confirmed monkeypox case in Greater Minnesota. 

All the cases in Minnesota are "men between the ages of 18 and 55," state epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said in a news conference Friday afternoon.

Lynfield also said she believed the number of reported cases is likely higher than what is being reported. 

MDH officials said that people without monkeypox symptoms should not get tested, because the state only has the ability to test symptomatic people right now.

Monkeypox symptoms usually include a rash that can appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body.

According to MDH website other symptoms can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches (including muscle and back)

Transmission can occur with skin-to skin contact, infectious sores, body fluids and respiratory droplets. It can also be spread from contact with contaminated clothing, bedding and towels or other things used by a person with monkeypox.

While many cases in the nationwide outbreak have involved men who have sex with men, Lynfield emphasized anybody can get monkeypox.

"This is not a so-called 'gay disease,' it just happens that it's currently circulating in this group," Lynfield said. "It can happen to anybody with close physical contact."

Lynfield said the state has received a very limited supply of 3,000 vaccine doses so far, but has more on the way in the coming weeks.

She said the state allocated 7,600 doses that should be coming in the next 4 to 6 weeks. The vaccines are "not recommended for most people" but are given to those who are at risk for severe illness, Lynfield said.

Last month, MDH announced the first reported monkeypox case was a Twin Cities patient who likely contracted the virus while traveling in Europe.

Last week, the World Health Organization said the expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency. 

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