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First monkeypox death recorded in Ohio

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The Ohio Department of Health is reporting the state’s first monkeypox death.

Though the Ohio Department of Health isn’t giving many details about the state’s first death associated with the illness, including where he was from, his age, or the date of his death, the agency says the man who died had existing health conditions. The agency said it is not giving additional information to protect his identity.

ODH's monkeypox dashboard shows, of the 276 monkeypox cases in Ohio so far, more than half have been recorded in Cuyahoga County. Most of the rest of the cases are in urban counties. In fact, only 26 of Ohio’s 88 counties have cases on record at this point.

Health officials said monkeypox is usually mild and doesn't often require hospitalization. More than 95% of the cases have occurred in men. Health officials say monkeypox is generally transmitted via close contact with an infected person, usually in men having sex with men.

Vaccines are available

ODH reports 8,301 Ohioans have federally-approved monkeypox from June 3, 2022 to September 8, 2022. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend the monkeypox vaccine for the general public. But the federal agency does recommend the vaccine for people in the following categories.

  • People who have been told by their health department that they are a contact of someone diagnosed with monkeypox.
  • People who find out a sexual partner in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox.
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox.
  • People who work in medical labs and some healthcare or public health workers.

The vaccines are available through local health departments and Ohioans in all 88 counties are eligible to get the vaccines. And ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff say Ohioans, especially those who have weakened immune systems, should get the vaccines.
“When we look globally, there have been deaths among people who have monkeypox. The vast majority have had comorbidities with severely weakened immune systems,” said Vanderhoff

If you have been exposed to monkeypox, the CDC has guidelines for how to prevent it from spreading. That includes not using towels, bedding or wearing clothing that is used by others and limiting physical exposure.

Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.
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