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First 'probable' case of monkeypox discovered in southern Kentucky

Monkeypox_rash_lesions_image-1ed6.jpeg
UK Health Security Agency
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A file photo containing examples of monkeypox lesions.

The first probable case of monkeypox has been found in southern Kentucky.

The Barren River District Health Department (BRDHD) announced Wednesday that an initial positive test and preliminary case investigation have led local health officials to believe they’ve found the first case of the disease in the region.

The patient’s test results have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

The health department didn't release any further information on the patient,
citing privacy concerns. However, the patient was identified as a Warren County male in his thirties by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The Cabinet also said five other cases of monkeypox have been reported in Kentucky, all of which involved men in Jefferson County.

The Barren River District Health Department said the Warren County patient remains isolated, and health officials are working to identify anyone the patient may have had close contact with while infectious.

The CDC has reported nearly 3,600 cases of monkeypox in 24 states as of Tuesday.

The BRDHD said in its Wednesday news release that the public should become aware on the risks of monkeypox and how it spreads. “It is also important to remember that monkeypox can spread through sexual networks. As always, it is important to be vigilant concerning personal sexual health and the sexual health of partners,” the statement said.

The health department is asking those who have symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the characteristic rash or lesions, to take the following steps:

  • Visit a medical provider for an evaluation
  • Cover the area of the rash with clothing
  • Wear a mask
  • Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others

This story has been updated in include information on the southern Kentucky patient provided by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.