State officials are moving today to calm any concerns about the potential for a Monkeypox outbreak in the state. The concern developed after it was learned that 18 Gambian rats kept for a short time by an animal broker in Appanoose County may be linked to Monkeypox. Ag Secretary Patty Judge says they’ve have quarantined all the animals remaining at the business and are keeping an eye on the employees as a simple precaution. Judge says there’s no definative evidence that the virus is in Iowa. Judge says the animals remaining at the business appear to be healthy, and show no signs of the disease. She says they’ll remain quarantined until the C-D-C says they can be released. Judge is taking an added precaution of banning the sale and transportation in or out of Iowa, or release of six rodents — including prairie dogs, tree squirrels, rope squirrels, Gambian rats, brush tailed porcupines and striped mice. Judge is asking anyone who has the animals to not panic and let them loose, as it could “spread the disease like wildfire” if an animal had the disease. Judge says pet owners are also asked to monitor their animals for any signs of sickness and to notify her office and the local health department if they exhibit any symptoms of illness. State epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk says the public should also watch for symptoms of the disease. Symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains and the development of a red bump rash that can develope into blisters or pustules over several days. Quinlisk says the Monkeypox is not a potentially fatal disease.
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