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Monkeypox unlikely to spread to Ohio, doctors say

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Monkeypox isn’t that easy to spread, compared to smallpox or chickenpox or some of the other pox viruses.

There's a new disease spreading in the U.S. that has some people concerned there is another pandemic on the horizon.

People in Northeast Ohio, however, likely have nothing to worry about when it comes to the recent monkeypox outbreak in Massachusetts, said Dr. Amy Edwards, infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals.

“Monkeypox isn’t that easy to spread, compared to smallpox or chickenpox or some of the other pox viruses,” Dr. Edwards said.

It’s unclear what started the outbreak, said Dr. Frank Esper, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. But since monkeypox is much harder to spread than COVID-19, it probably won’t become a pandemic, Dr Esper said.

“This is unlikely to become a global problem. I do not believe that this is the next global pandemic that we’ll be dealing with," he said.

A previous outbreak in 2003 caused about 80 people to become infected in the Midwest after having contact with sick prairie dogs.

Public health officials are currently using contact tracing to find the source of the outbreak. Unlike with COVID-19, they will be tracing contact with humans and animals to see if a sick animal caused it, Esper said.

Those who have received a smallpox vaccine actually should have some immunity from monkeypox, Esper said. There is a monkeypox vaccine as well, but very few people have it because of how rare it is.