COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus Public Health is investigating a local case of monkeypox, an infected 48-year-old man who resides in CPH’s jurisdiction.
This case is the second in Ohio after top health officials identified the first case earlier this month. The resident is isolating and the risk to the general public is low.
“The risk to the general public is low,” said Columbus Public Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts. “I do think it’s important for individuals to understand this rare virus has been identified in our community, but other than all the public health messages we always remind people to do, which is wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, there’s really nothing the general public needs to do differently at this time.”
While uncommon, monkeypox is circulating in the U.S. Monkeypox is caused by a virus that spreads through close, intimate contact or during sex, CPH said. It also can spread through contact with sheets, towels, and other objects and through kissing.
Monkeypox starts with flu-like symptoms with a fever followed by a rash or sores. If you think you have monkeypox or have been exposed to someone who does, contact a healthcare provider or public health immediately.
“Close contacts for monkeypox is very different than close contacts for COVID-19 and some of our other infectious diseases,” Roberts said. “It has to be prolonged exposure, what we would likely call intimate exposure. That could be skin-to-skin contact.”
Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.
Roberts said this is the first time monkeypox has been diagnosed in a patient in the Columbus area who has not traveled abroad where they could have been exposed. She expects more cases in central Ohio, as does OhioHealth infectious disease expert Dr. Joseph Gastaldo.
“For the general public, monkeypox is not a high concern,” Gastaldo said. “Really, it’s dependant upon what community you’re in or, more specifically, who’s in your social circle. We know worldwide a lot of monkeypox we’re seeing is in the community of men who have sex with men and again, a lot of it has to do with close, intimate contact.”
Columbus Public Health is in the process of tracing down close contacts of the patient.
View more information on monkeypox from the CDC here.