MUNCIE, Ind. – According to the Centers for Disease Control, monkey pox cases in Indiana had reached 62 cases on Thursday, up from 45 the previous Thursday. Those numbers include at least two pediatric cases.
The disease, spread largely through skin-to-skin contact, has been spreading in the United States since May 17, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began responding to the outbreak in the US. The spread took place worldwide, with Europe as the focus of the outbreak. The World Health Organization declared monkey pox a “global emergency” in late July.
Megan Wade-Taxter, a spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Health, said the agency has not broken down monkeypox data by county or region at this time. She had no information about the presence of the disease in East Central Indiana.
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In late July, Marion County reported 17 suspected cases of monkey pox there, The Indianapolis Star reported. Cases have cropped up elsewhere in the state as well; Tippecanoe County’s health department on July 28 announced that the county had three confirmed but “mild” cases of monkeypox, and just days before that, St. Joseph County announced its first confirmed case.
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Last week, Indiana had received 3,232 doses of Jynneos vaccine to fight monkey pox. Due to the limited supply of vaccines, vaccines will initially be prioritized for those who have close contact with positive cases to prevent serious illness, the IDOH said.
An additional vaccine is expected in the state soon, according to an IDOH statement. Vaccine suitability will be expanded to high-risk groups for exposure as stocks increase.
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Jammie Bane, administrator of the Delaware County Health Department, said monkeypox is a common risk to the population.
“Our citizens should be aware that anyone can get monkey pox,” he said in an email. “This appears to be an equal opportunity virus that spreads primarily through direct contact. However, epidemiological data seems to indicate that a smaller subset of our population has been at increased risk in this outbreak so far.”
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About 99.1% of the total confirmed cases were male, and 98.4% of these men reported male-to-male sexual contact, Bane said.
“Some patients report very mild symptoms and therefore fail to protect others by avoiding contact,” he said. “Skin lesions are usually the primary symptom that people associate with monkeypox. These lesions can be obvious, but they can also appear benign, like some other common rashes or skin conditions.”
Bane said it’s helpful to know about common monkeypox symptoms and risk factors to help prevent getting monkeypox.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, has advised those most at risk to cut down on their sexual partners.
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“That means making safe choices for yourself and others, for men who have sex with men,” Tedros told the Associated Press. “For now, this includes reducing your number of sexual partners.”
“Monkeypox does not spread easily through short, casual contact, but it’s important to remember that anyone can be affected if they have close contact with a positive case,” Indiana Health Commissioner Kris Box said in a press release. “Hoosiers who believe they may have been exposed or develop symptoms consistent with monkey pox are urged to contact a health care provider.”
How is monkeypox virus spread?
Marshall Glesby, an infectious disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, told USA Today the disease can be transmitted to anyone; For example, two children in the US contracted monkey pox from close contact with infected relatives.
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The infection is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox, according to IDOH. Symptoms are similar to smallpox, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.
In addition to contact with a rash, scabs, or bodily fluids from a person with monkeypox, the spread can also occur through touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox, or through contact with respiratory secretions. WHO officials said anyone who comes in close contact with a patient or their contaminated clothing or bedding is at risk.
Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in monkey colonies held for research, hence the name, according to the CDC. Rodents and non-human primates (such as monkeys) can harbor the virus and infect humans.
What are the symptoms of monkey pox?
According to the CDC, symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- A fever
- Muscle pain and back pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, stuffy nose, or cough)
- A rash that may be on or near the genitals or anus, as well as other areas such as the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
The UN health agency has warned that the disease could be more serious in children and pregnant women.
Bane said the provincial health department encourages anyone with concerns to visit in.gov/health/monkeypox for more detailed information, and sign up at http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/lUaRCL91K8fNgKqw7TPqxxp?domain=bit .ly to be informed about clinical opportunities in the EBI area.
To date, approximately 25,391 cases have been reported in more than 83 countries, and 6,325 cases have been reported in the U.S., according to the CDC.
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