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Louisiana's first monkeypox case confirmed by health officials

An image of the Monkeypox virus from the Centers for Disease Control website.
Centers for Disease Control
An image of the Monkeypox virus from the Centers for Disease Control website.

The Louisiana Department of Health has detected the first case of monkeypox in a Louisiana resident and a second case in an out-of-state resident visiting Louisiana.

There are likely more cases of undiagnosed monkeypox infections in the state, the health department said in a statement.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that causes flu-like symptoms and rashes and can be confused with a sexually-transmitted infection, such as syphilis or herpes. It’s been spreading in the U.S. since May, but it’s much harder to contract than COVID.

It’s often contracted through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus, or extended close contact with someone who’s infected. It can also be contracted via animals, or through clothing or bedding, the health department said.

There have been 605 monkeypox cases identified in 36 states.

Rosemary Westwood is the public and reproductive health reporter for WWNO/WRKF. She was previously a freelance writer specializing in gender and reproductive rights, a radio producer, columnist, magazine writer and podcast host.