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With monkeypox cases rising in the Twin Cities, state health officials are warning infections could grow rapidly if communities lack awareness about the virus. 

On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health said six cases of monkeypox have been confirmed so far, but state health officials believe other cases are going undetected. 

In a press release, MDH said health officials "are concerned that the number of infections could grow rapidly unless people who are at risk for monkeypox take steps to protect themselves, recognize when they may be infected, and seek medical care promptly if they are." 

To date, 450 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the United States, according to latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

The six cases confirmed in Minnesota were found among adults living in the Twin Cities metro who had either recently traveled (internationally or domestically), or, had direct contact with someone who traveled. 

"None of the Minnesotans with cases are currently hospitalized and all are receiving medical care and recovering," the health department stated Friday. 

Monkeypox symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash that can look like pimples or blisters on the face and other parts of the body
  • Rash can occur in the mouth, and there may be sores in the genital and anal areas

Most people recover at home within 2-4 weeks. Malcolm noted that many people who contract monkeypox are able to recover on their own without hospitalization.

Earlier in the week, health commissioner Jan Malcolm said the risk to the general public is low, though getting the word out about the virus is important to raise public awareness. 

According to the CDC, monkeypox most commonly spreads through direct contact with infectious rash, scabs or bodily fluids. Respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact can also spread the virus, namely through physical contact including kissing, cuddling and sex. 

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