Springfield-Greene County Health Department officials are tracking possible monkeypox cases

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – There are currently 8,934 cases of monkeypox in the US

There are 15 in Missouri and 9 in Arkansas, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One case has been confirmed in Greene County. Officials at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department tell us they are investigating more possible cases.

“No one wants to be sick. If you ask me, can you survive it, sure,” said Jason Norman-Hodges.

He says he was exposed to the virus while in Kansas City. Norman-Hodges says he immediately contacted the health department and was one of the first in the area to get vaccinated.

“I know it’s something that at the local level has not been needed until now,” he said.

Only five monkeypox vaccines have been administered in Greene County.

Chief medical officer for the health department Nancy Yoon said: “Right now, people who can get the vaccine are people who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of monkeypox.”

“This is not a new disease. It’s mostly seen in Africa,” said Dr. Will Sistrunk, an infectious disease physician at Mercy.

He says that this disease is not sexually transmitted or limited to spread within a certain group of people.

“No matter what demographic you’re in you can spread it to someone else. We are all at risk,” explained Dr. Sistrunk.

The rash makes the disease highly contagious. However, Dr. Sistrunk says there are other symptoms that develop before it forms.

“You can have fever and fatigue, muscle pain, like other viral infections. But one that is a little bit different than some of the other viral infections is that you generally have swollen lymph nodes,” he explained.

The health department is using the same tactics to track the spread of monkeypox as it did with the COVID-19 virus.

“We continue to use the same measures of investigation and isolation of the case. Really just providing education to the public along with vaccination. Using all these tools, these are the strategies we have to limit the number of cases as much as we can,” Yoon said.

Hospitals are also putting plans in place to limit the spread of monkeypox.

“We have a plan in place now for personal protective equipment for our associates to use if they think a patient may have monkeypox to try to avoid the person-to-person spread of it within the healthcare environment. They are being deployed throughout country,” said Dr. Sistrunk.

Local health officials are urging the community to educate themselves about the disease to prevent the spread.

Yoon said: “It’s important that people are just informed and not scared about this situation. but simply to educate themselves as much as possible in order to protect their health and the health of those closest to them.”

Norman-Hodges says getting the monkeypox vaccine gave him peace of mind.

“After COVID, if this is where we are, it’s especially important now. We’ve all already lived through a big, big, biggest pandemic in our lives. I’m not ready to go through another one.”

Click here to access the Springfield-Greene County Health Department website with resources and information about monkeypox.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

Copyright 2022 KY3. All rights reserved.

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