Health Department Announces Probable Cases of Monkeypox in Lucas County

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is working with Ohio Department of Health on investigating two probable cases of monkeypox infection in the county.

The individuals have tested positive for Orthopoxvirus in lesion samples while meeting both clinical and epidemiologic criteria. TLCHD is following up with people with whom these individuals may have had close contact.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus. The overall risk of monkeypox to the general population is low. Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.

Once a positive case is detected, TLCHD will do a thorough tracing and monitoring of close contacts. If determined to be eligible for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), contacts can receive the monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS) on a referral basis.

“Monkeypox is a very rare disease in the United States,” said Dr. Eric Zgodzinski, health commissioner. “Monkeypox does not spread easily between people, but anyone in close contact with a person with monkeypox can get it and should take steps to protect themselves. This virus has not shown the ability to spread rapidly in the general population. Based on the information currently available, the risk to the public appears to be very low.”

Efforts are underway to ensure that antiviral treatment with tecovirimat (TPOXX) will be available to eligible patients in Lucas County. At this time, tecovirimat is reserved for those who are more likely to get severely ill or have weakened immune systems. TLCHD will closely monitor the situation and update the public about the status of the virus and any other measures that can be taken to minimize the effects and evade an outbreak.

Although rare, monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness that is transmitted when someone has close contact with an infected person or animal. Person-to-person spread occurs with prolonged close contact or with direct contact with body fluids or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or linens. Illness typically begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and swelling of the lymph nodes.

After a few days, a specific type of rash appears, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. Symptoms generally appear seven to 14 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks. Some people may suffer with severe illness. As with many viral illnesses, treatment mainly involves supportive care and relief of symptoms. If you are sick and have symptoms consistent with monkeypox, seek medical care from your health care provider, especially if you are in one of the following groups: Those who traveled to locations where monkeypox cases have been reported, or other areas with confirmed cases of monkeypox during the month before their symptoms began.  Those who have had contact with a person with confirmed or suspected  monkeypox.  Close or intimate in-person contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity including meeting partners through an online website, digital app or social event.

If you need to seek care, call your health care provider first. Let them know you are concerned about possible monkeypox infection so they can take precautions to ensure that others are not exposed.

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