Hennepin County health officials: Seek help if exposed to monkeypox

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Concerns are growing about the spread of monkeypox and, Thursday morning, health officials in Hennepin County laid out their response plan to handle the virus.

County health experts want others to know if they think they’ve been exposed – they should seek help.

The Red Door Clinic in downtown Minneapolis provides testing, vaccinations and medication, and has been helping Minnesotans deal with monkeypox since the first case was confirmed back in June.

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Currently, clinic members are limiting supply to people who are infected, or have been exposed.

Health experts say the best window for vaccination is within four days of exposure. In addition, the sooner the better for receiving medication, such as Tpoxx, in severe cases.

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Officials also say it is important to know the virus can infect anybody, but right now, it’s most commonly seen in men who have had sexual contact with other men because it is spreading in that community, especially through skin to skin contact.

Skin lesions are the most common sign.

“We’re most commonly seeing them on or around the genitals. The best way I can describe the lesions is they often start flat and often become raised up, almost like little Cheerios, little domed up Cheerios with indented or darkened centers,” said Bridget Daniels, a worker with Red Door Healthcare.

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Health officials say no one in Minnesota has needed to be hospitalized due to the disease.

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the same virus that causes smallpox, but is less severe. However, it can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to health officials. They add the disease doesn’t naturally happen in the United States, and is native to countries in both Central and West Africa.

So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 6,617 cases of monkeypox in the United States in 2022. As of this publishing, 39 cases have been reported in Minnesota, and 19 in Wisconsin. CLICK HERE for the CDC case map.

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