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Health, Science & Environment

Ohio reports first probable monkeypox case in the state

WHO Monkeypox
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. WHO's top monkeypox expert Dr. Rosamund Lewis said she doesn’t expect the hundreds of cases reported to date to turn into another pandemic, but acknowledged there are still many unknowns about the disease, including how exactly it’s spreading and whether the suspension of mass smallpox immunization decades ago may somehow be speeding its transmission.

Ohio health officials said they have identified the first probable case of monkeypox in the state.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, told reporters Monday that a man in Ohio tested positive for an orthopox virus, and state and federal health officials are working to confirm whether it is in fact monkeypox.

Vanderhoff said monkeypox is not spread easily through airborne particles and is nothing like COVID-19.

“Monkeypox does not spread easily between people and so the risk to Ohioans generally is very low,” Vanderhoff said.

Monkeypox is a rare disease from the same virus family as smallpox. Currently, there are 65 confirmed cases in the United States.

Vanderhoff declined to release specific information about the case to protect the privacy of the patient.

Vanderhoff said monkeypox is usually spread through skin-to-skin contact and prolonged intimate contact.

He said people who get it typically have flu-like symptoms and possibly a rash or something that looks like pimples or blisters.

Jo Ingles with the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau contributed to this article.

Health, Science & Environment Monkeypox