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Kansas reports first case of monkeypox; BA.5 variant of COVID-19 highly infectious

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BA.5 is the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S.

A science expert explains the severity of monekypox and the latest on the omicron subvariant BA.5

A Johnson County man has tested “presumed positive” for the monkeypox, becoming the first case in Kansas.

According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, monkeypox is "a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus." Monkeypox is related to the now-extinct smallpox virus.

Dr. Gene Olinger, a science advisor at MRIGlobal, says it's not surprising that Kansas has a confirmed case of the monkeypox. The good news, he says, is that it's self treatable, and people usually get better over time.

Meanwhile, the latest subvariant of COVID-19, called BA.5, appears more contagious than any previous form of the virus.

"It's able to adjust," Olinger said. "It doesn't learn, but it adjusts to the conditions it lives in, and this is why we have had such a difficult time at making cold vaccines in the past."

The CDC reports that BA.5 accounts for more than half of the country’s new COVID cases.

Reported symptoms of BA.5 are similar to previous COVID variants: fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, headaches, muscle pain and fatigue.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.