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Man in Columbus area diagnosed with monkeypox

This is the second reported case of monkeypox in the state.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Public Health on Monday announced a man in the Columbus area has been diagnosed with monkeypox.

According to health officials, the case involves the 48-year-old man who resides in the agency's jurisdiction. He is currently isolated.

This is the second reported case in Ohio. The first case was reported two weeks ago.

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said although the agency is still investigating, they did not believe there are any close contacts.

"The threat to the general public is very low but we want people to understand that monkeypox is in the United States, has arrived in Ohio and now it has arrived in Columbus," Roberts said.

Most people who are diagnosed with monkeypox travel outside of the country, but Dr. Roberts said it does not appear the patient traveled out of the United States.

The virus is not something most people need to be concerned about, but Dr. Roberts said it's something everyone should be aware of.

"You have to have close, intimate, prolonged exposure to someone with monkeypox," Dr. Roberts said. "It's easily spread if it's that skin to skin contact, so again, intimate contact that you would have with someone or with contaminated objects that they might have been in touch with like sheets, like towels."

The World Health Organization said the monkeypox outbreak in more than 50 countries should be closely monitored but does not warrant being declared a global emergency.

WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?

Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. It belongs to the same virus family as smallpox.

Most human cases have been in central and west Africa and outbreaks have been relatively limited.

The illness was first identified by scientists in 1958 when there were two outbreaks of a “pox-like” disease in research monkeys — thus the name monkeypox. The first known human infection was in 1970, in a young boy in a remote part of Congo.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND HOW IS IT TREATED?

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

Most people recover within about two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalized, monkeypox can be fatal for up to 6% of cases and is thought to be more severe in children.

Smallpox vaccines are effective against monkeypox and anti-viral drugs are also being developed.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recommended all suspected cases be isolated and that high-risk contacts be offered a smallpox vaccine. The U.K. is offering high-risk contacts the smallpox vaccine and recommending anyone who might be infected to isolate until they recover.

The U.S. has 1,000 doses of a vaccine approved for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox, plus more than 100 million doses of an older-generation smallpox vaccine in a government stockpile, officials said.

HOW MANY MONKEYPOX CASES ARE THERE TYPICALLY?

The World Health Organization estimates there are thousands of monkeypox infections in about a dozen African countries every year. Most are in Congo, which reports about 6,000 cases annually, and Nigeria, with about 3,000 cases a year.

In the past, isolated cases of monkeypox have been spotted outside Africa, including in the U.S. and Britain. The cases were mostly linked to travel in Africa or contact with animals from areas where the disease is more common.

In 2003, 47 people in six U.S. states had confirmed or probable cases. They caught the virus from pet prairie dogs that been housed near imported small mammals from Ghana.

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