City, County, regional health leaders address monkeypox cases
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County hosted a joint press conference Monday morning to address the reported cases of monkeypox in the region.
Last Tuesday, the Cincinnati Health Department informed the City Manager’s Office that Cincinnati had its first two confirmed cases of monkeypox.
The Cincinnati cases were identified through the patients’ healthcare providers after the patients developed a new rash. The providers requested and received monkeypox vaccines from the national stockpile, and those vaccines were administered to the patient’s close contacts.
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, County Commissioner Denise Driehaus, Interim Health Commissioner for the City of Cincinnati, Dr. Grant Mussman, Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman, and Cincinnati City Councilman Reggie Harris all spoke about the collaboration of city, county and local health officials to inform the public about monkeypox, how they are working together to prevent its spread, and how COVID-19 helped put an infrastructure in place to handle the virus.
Councilmember Harris discussed the impact the virus is having on the LGBTQI+ community and praised the efforts of local health officials and the CDC to destigmatize the virus to ensure people are not discriminated against if they have monkeypox.
“We assume anyone can get it but most cases are between men which is why we must target our education and messages to those individuals in the LBGTQI+ community. It’s a delicate situation and it must be handled with care while also providing clear and direct messaging,” Harris said.
Dr. Jennifer Forrester, an infectious disease specialist with UC Health, said although the population most affected at this point by monkeypox is mostly men with men, sexual contact is not the only way the virus is spread.
“It mostly starts like they have the flu then it’s typically followed by a rash a few days later although some people may not get flu-like symptoms and just get a rash,” said Forrester.
She said if you suspect you have had contact with someone who has monkeypox or you have a rash, see your health care provider to get tested.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus (monkeypox virus) not commonly seen in the United States.
The virus can cause a rash that may look like pimples or blisters, sometimes with a flu-like illness.
Monkeypox is in the same family of viruses as that which causes smallpox. The symptoms are similar to smallpox but less severe. Most cases result in mild illness, and fatalities are rare. Symptoms usually last 2-4 weeks.
According to the CDC, symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters and can appear on the face, inside the mouth and other parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.
According to the CDC, there are currently 23 monkeypox cases in Ohio, 8 cases in Kentucky, and 49 cases in Indiana.
Hamilton County residents who are concerned about the virus may visit the county health commission’s website to get information about monkeypox
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