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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Department of Health today reported some additional confirmed monkeypox cases in the state.

The total currently stands at six, but state health officials believe not all patients with a viral infection have sought out testing or have been assessed by a healthcare provider. The health department is expressing concern 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."

(Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, file)

The six confirmed cases all involve adults in the Twin Cities area who have had a history of travel or direct contact with someone who has traveled recently. None of the patients are currently hospitalized.

“It’s clear that monkeypox has come to Minnesota,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said. “While our current cases are associated with travel outside Minnesota, we expect we will soon see cases among people who have no travel history or contact with someone who did, indicating that spread within social networks in Minnesota is occurring. We also think that many people with cases nationally are not seeking medical attention and that the number of people experiencing monkeypox is higher than the reported cases. We want to make sure that at-risk Minnesotans and their health care providers are informed about monkeypox – how it spreads, what the symptoms are, and how to prevent its spread.”

A news release says the virus is spread by close contact but usually involves skin-to-skin contact with rashes, scabs, or bodily fluids. It is also possible to spread the illness through contact with contaminated materials or prolonged face-to-face contact.

Monkey Pox Lesions
Getty Images

The state health department says monkeypox "usually starts with symptoms like fever, headaches, sore throat, swollen glands, and fatigue. Both symptoms would be followed by a rash, but some infected people will only experience the rash and others will see sores that start on the tongue or in the mouth.

Major Milestones From Beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota

News and information about the virus were slowly making their way through Minnesota and the Rochester area during late February 2020. Mayo Clinic became aware of the virus in January because of a partnership it had with a Chinese firm. This gave Mayo a head start in developing its own test for the virus which it knew would be needed for its patients.

Scroll through the gallery to see the significant milestones from the first two months of the pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

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