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Minnesota reports 33 cases of monkeypox, mainly in Twin Cities metro

State health officials said the cases had been detected since Minnesota tracked its first monkeypox case about a month ago.

Oval monkeypox cells pictured in a microscope close up
This digitally-colorized microscope image depicts monkeypox virus particles from a human skin sample.
Submitted / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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ST. PAUL — Thirty-three Minnesotans have tested positive for monkeypox since the illness was first detected in the state and health officials expect additional cases have not yet been detected.

Minnesota Department of Health leaders on Friday, July 29, offered an update about the virus' spread in Minnesota and said that all but one case had been reported in the Twin Cities metro area.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that can cause fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, head and body aches and a rash that can resemble pimples or blisters. The sickness is spread through direct and indirect contact with the virus, like through contact with bodily fluids, lesions or respiratory particles.

And like other parts of the country where monkeypox has been detected, officials said that Minnesota cases had so far been reported in men who are gay, bisexual or have had sex with other men.

Those who tested positive in Minnesota had traveled or had engaged in physical contact with someone who had monkeypox, they said.

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Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Minnesota's state epidemiologist, on Friday said that testing for monkeypox is available at clinics around the state and that, at least for now, the 3,000 doses of monkeypox vaccination are being directed toward those at greatest risk of contracting or developing severe symptoms.

“We know that that amount is not nearly enough for the tens of thousands of people estimated to be at risk for monkeypox," Lynfield said during a call with reporters, noting that mitigation measures such as hand-washing and avoiding infected individuals would be critical to preventing the spread.

Thousands of additional doses were expected to come to the state in the next several weeks, she said.

Lynfield said that those who've been exposed to monkeypox or who exhibit symptoms should contact their doctor and get tested. She also recommended that those people wear a face mask and avoid public settings to prevent the spread of monkeypox through respiratory droplets.

While recent cases have been reported in men ages 18-55 who reported having sex with men, Lynfield said that anyone could contract monkeypox. And she advised all Minnesotans to take precautions to limit the risks of contracting the disease.

"We have seen — in other jurisdictions — some spread to household members, so it is something we want to keep an eye on," Lynfield said. "We want to be sure that people know the symptoms of monkeypox and know how to keep an infection controlled."

For additional information about Monkeypox, testing and vaccination availability in Minnesota, visit www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/monkeypox/basics.html.

MORE FROM DANA FERGUSON:
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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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