JACKSON, Wyo. — Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) announced the first reported case of monkeypox in the health district, on Aug. 3.

EIPH health district includes Bonneville, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton Counties.

According to the press release, the patient is receiving outpatient care and EIPH is conducting contract tracing to identify anyone who may be at risk due to close contact with the patient.

Monkeypox usually causes a mild illness, and most people recover on their own, says EIPH. Symptoms include flu-like symptoms — such as a fever, body aches, and chills — and may have swollen lymph nodes in the days before a rash appears. The rash may start on any body part as small, red spots. They can become firm and circular with a defined border and may become pus-filled with an indentation (like a dot) in the middle.

Antivirals are available for patients who might have severe disease or develop complications, says EIPH, and the health department is considering vaccine use on a case-by-case basis for individuals who are or maybe have been exposed.

A person with monkeypox is contagious from the time their symptoms begin until all lesions have healed, and fresh skin has formed. A typical illness lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment. However, sometimes monkeypox can lead to more severe illness and in rare cases even be fatal.

“An international outbreak of monkeypox was first reported in May 2022, with most of the cases likely from the virus spreading between people. As of Aug. 3 over 6,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, mostly among men who have sex with men,” says EIPH.

According to EIPH, the virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact. Transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact.

Across the state, there have been five reported cases, as of Aug. 4, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Montana and Wyoming remain the only states in the U.S. with zero cases, as of Aug. 4.

EIPH offered these recommendations to prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands, especially after contact with possibly infected people and contact with materials like bedding that have touched any lesions.
  • Limit direct contact with anyone who has a new rash.
  • Stay home except for medical appointments if you have a new rash.
  • Isolate from household members and pets if you have a new rash.
  • Wear personal protective equipment if caring for someone with monkeypox.
  • If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should see your health care provider.

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.