The State Ag Department and the Department of Public Health are investigating an Iowa connection to the midwest cases of Monkeypox. The departments are conducting a dual investigation of an animal dealer in southern Iowa that reportedly held a shipment of 18 Gambian rats for a week earlier this year. The rats were sent to a Chicago-area pet distributor who is being investigated as part of the Monkeypox outbreak. It’s suspected the rats gave the disease to prairie dogs that have infected people in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. State officials say there have been no reported illness in employees or animals of the facility where the Gambian rats were kept. Nor are there any reports of any Iowans with the illness. The Ag department has quarantined all animals housed at the facility, preventing any movement of animals to and from the facility. Officials do say no link between the Iowa Gambian rats and the Monkeypox cases has been established. The owner of the facility tells the Des Moines Register that federal officials have already cleared the facility of any link. State officials will hold a news conference later today to discuss the case.
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