It was bound to show up in Louisiana before long.

The first case of monkeypox has been identified in the Bayou State. That's according to the Louisiana Department of Health, who says the infected individual is from LDH Region 1 which consists of Orleans, Plaquemines, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes.

I'm sure by now you have seen coverage of monkeypox in the news and on social media. Medical officials with LDH define monkeypox as:

a potentially serious viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over."

Medical officials also point out that monkeypox can be confused with syphilis or herpes, sexually transmitted infections.

Much discussion about how monkeypox is spread has centered around how the illness seems to be spread through sex, more specifically among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Early data from the CDC says gay and bisexual men are making up a high number of cases but LDH says if you have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox then you could be at risk yourself, regardless of who your sexual partner(s) may be.

Monkey Pox Lesions
(Photo Courtesy of CDC/Getty Images)

Here are ways monkeypox can be spread:

  • Through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus
  • Through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact, including kissing, cuddling or sex
  • From infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
Nigeria Center for Disease Control
Nigeria Center for Disease Control

The good news is that monkeypox cannot be spread by people who do not have symptoms.

The symptoms of monkeypox are:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. Sometimes people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Some cases in the current U.S. outbreak have experienced only isolated rashes in the genital region or other body parts.
Monkey Pox Lesions
(Photo Courtesy of CDC/Getty Images)

In addition to the first Louisiana resident testing positive for the virus, an out-of-state resident visiting Louisiana also tested positive for monkeypox.

So far, 605 monkeypox cases have been identified in 36 states over the last couple of months, according to this CDC map. As a matter of fact, our neighbors to the west - Texas - have 23 reported cases.

Goosebumps and other bodily reactions, explained

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