First monkeypox case confirmed in Montgomery County

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County announced Monday that it recently identified its first monkeypox case in the county.

ExploreRELATED: CDC confirms first monkeypox case in Ohio

Public Health is in contact with the Ohio Department of Health and the local patient’s health care provider. The patient is receiving medical care and is in isolation, and Public Health was not able to provide any additional information on the individual in order to protect confidentiality.

Close contacts will be notified by Public Health and monitored for symptoms. Some close contacts may be eligible for vaccination to help prevent monkeypox or decrease symptoms, the agency stated.

Vaccines are being targeted toward areas with more cases. Locally, vaccines are being given to individuals considered close contacts of those with monkeypox, but information was not available on how many vaccines have been given out locally. The vaccines can help individuals even who already have been exposed to the virus.

“It can reduce the symptoms greatly and/or prevent them from getting it at all,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information manager for Public Health. There also are additional treatments available for those who do contract monkeyox, he said.

Monkeypox is a viral infection, but unlike COVID-19, the risk is low. It typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes that progresses to a rash, which may look like pimples or blisters. However, cases identified in the country appear more likely to only develop the rash, which can stay contained to one part of the body.

The Ohio Department of Health in June reported the first case in the state. As of Friday, 45 monkeypox cases in Ohio were among the 7,510 confirmed cases across the U.S. linked to this outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been no deaths reported in the U.S. attributed to monkeypox, but there have been approximately six deaths associated with monkeypox reported in countries outside of where monkeypox is endemic in Africa. Globally, the outbreak has more than 28,000 cases in 88 countries — 81 of which have not historically reported monkeypox.

Health officials also stress monkeypox is different than COVID-19, and they do not anticipate the virus to behave the same way as COVID. Suffoletto said monkeypox is not as deadly as COVID and it transmits in a different way.

“The death rate is very low,” Suffoletto said about monkeypox. “It doesn’t spread like COVID does.”

Monkeypox spreads in different ways, and it can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

The virus can spread person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex. In addition, pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta, Public Health reported.

Touching items such as clothing or linens that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids is another way monkeypox spreads. It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

According to the CDC, the monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are milder but similar to smallpox symptoms, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Public Health’s website at www.phdmc.org offers photographs of the different types of lesions that monkeypox can cause, as well as different information about local testing and treatment options.

Health officials also recommend anyone with symptoms similar to that of monkeypox should reach out to a health care provider.

“People should not just ignore symptoms,” Suffoletto said. Even if it is not monkeypox, the symptoms could be from a different illness requiring medical attention.

For more information on monkeypox, visit www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/symptoms.html.

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