The state of Iowa has about 600 doses of monkeypox vaccine. Due to the limited supply, officials say those who’ve been exposed to the virus are being prioritized for vaccination. The vaccine can prevent or limit the severity an infection.

Dr. Aneesa Afroze of MercyOne in Des Moines says they have one patient with symptoms consistent with monkeypox and they’re awaiting test results.

“Providers are watching patients presenting with any kind of rash,” she says.

People with monkeypox may have a fever, chills or a rash. According to the Centers for Disease Control, six cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Iowa. Dr. Afroze says the virus is not easily transmissible like COVID-19, but people should still be aware of it.

“Primarily it spreads between people through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs or body fluid,” she says. “Sometimes lesions, sores can be in the mouth or the throat and they can be coughed and spread via droplets or very close contact, like kissing.”

This weekend, the World Health Organization declared the spread of monkeypox a global health emergency. More than 16,000 cases have been confirmed in 75 countries. As of Sunday, more than 3,000 cases had been confirmed in the U.S., including two cases in children.

(By Katie Peikes Iowa Public Radio/O.Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa)