Ohio Department of Health identifies probable monkeypox case

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2022

COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, announced today that ODH has identified a probable case of monkeypox infection in an adult male Ohio resident based on preliminary testing at the ODH laboratory. Confirmatory monkeypox testing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pending.

ODH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to ensure appropriate care for the patient.

The individual remains isolated and is following recommendations from public health officials and medical providers.

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“What I want to emphasize strongly is that monkeypox does not spread easily between people, and so the risk to Ohioans generally is very low,” Dr. Vanderhoff said.

Dr. Vanderhoff said that unlike COVID-19, which can be spread easily from person to person through the air over several feet of space, monkeypox spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.

Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, cuddling or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.

ODH strongly recommends that anyone who is experiencing symptoms of an unexplained rash (lesions on any part of the body) contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible. People who are feeling ill should stay home.

Persons who only have flu-like symptoms without rash should get tested for COVID-19. Ill persons should wear a mask when seeking care or if they are not able to isolate from others.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash. Cases recently identified across the country appear less likely to have the initial symptoms of flu-like illness or lymph node swelling and the rash, which may look like pimples or blisters, may also stay contained to a particular part of the body.

It is important to note that anyone can get monkeypox, even though most cases associated with the investigation in the United States have occurred among men who have sex with men.