Johnson Co. health official on monkeypox: ‘people should be aware’

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there are 9 cases of monkeypox in the state, as of the last update on July 27.

Sam Jarvis, Community Health Division Manager with Johnson County Public Health, said “It’s uncertain what [monkeypox] will look like in the future” but added, “it sounds like we will continue to see some transmission.”

No one knows if monkeypox will become a widespread issue, but knowing there will likely be more cases begs the question: is the health care system prepared if there is another public health emergency like COVID-19? Another difficult question to answer, but Jarvis did point out one thing.

“Many disease investigators have investigated more cases in the past two years than they previously would in an entire career,” said Jarvis. “There’s a lot of experience that’s been gained throughout the past two years.”

About staff shortages and the potential impact that could have on another health emergency, Jarvis said, he “would certainly, happily defer those questions to our health care partners. Could imagine if a community or facility is undergoing that, that those would pose concerns, but would defer to our hospital partners locally.”

With a lot still uncertain, Johnson County Public Health has received questions about monkeypox. “We have had a handful of calls and some interest. One, just curiosity at what monkeypox is,” said Jarvis. “And then we’ve had some folks call with questions about vaccination.”

Right now, vaccination is only available to those involved in a monkeypox case investigation. “As time progresses, and if that should change, we’ll be sure to communicate that to our partners and to our community,” said Jarvis.

“People should be aware,” said Jarvis. “Right now, our goal is to raise awareness so that folks understand what monkeypox is and how transmission is.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of monkeypox include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches and backache
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • chills
  • exhaustion
  • respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • a rash that may be located on or near the genitals, but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth

Jarvis said people who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their primary care provider.

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