Archive for Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Kansas monkeypox confirmed by CDC

June 24, 2003

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— The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a northeast Kansas woman contracted the state's first case of monkeypox, officials said Monday.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced the findings from the center, which is based in Atlanta. KDHE had sent preliminary results from its tests to the center for further examination.

The woman, who has not been identified by name or hometown, was bitten by a prairie dog around June 1 while visiting a northwest Missouri man.

She was released Thursday from Saint John Hospital in Leavenworth.

Three family members were given the smallpox vaccine as a precaution, said KDHE spokeswoman Sharon Watson. The vaccine reduces the risk of humans getting monkeypox.

The Missouri man, a 38-year-old from Platte County, also contracted the disease. His prairie dog was euthanized last week by Missouri health officials.

Other animals owned by the man have been quarantined. None of the animals shows signs of the disease, but they will be monitored until mid-July, Missouri officials said.

Monkeypox, a west African disease not previously seen in the Western Hemisphere, is related to smallpox but is not as lethal. It causes rashes, chills and fever.

The CDC has confirmed nine monkeypox cases in Wisconsin, six in Indiana, five in Illinois and one each in Kansas and Missouri.

Federal health officials believe the disease was introduced when prairie dogs at Phil's Pocket Pets in Villa Park, Ill., came in contact with a giant Gambian rat.

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