BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Three additional cases of monkeypox are being reported around the New Orleans metro area, bringing the total number of statewide cases to six, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Starting today, LDH said it will provide updates on detected monkeypox cases in Louisiana residents on its website: LDH said it will update its monkeypox dashboard daily at noon, except for weekends and state holidays.

While LDH officials have downplayed fears about monkeypox becoming a pandemic situation similar to COVID, they reiterated today that they believe the number of cases around Louisiana may be underreported. The disease has not been deadly and is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus.

It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact, including kissing, cuddling or sex. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

According to the CDC, early data suggest that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus

Sometimes people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Some cases in the current U.S. outbreak have experienced only isolated rashes in the genital region or other body parts.