© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Second case of monkeypox confirmed in Cleveland

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles, left, and spherical immature particles, right.
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner
/
CDC via AP
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles, left, and spherical immature particles, right.

A second case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Cleveland, according to Dr. David Margolius, the city's incoming director of public health.

Last month, the city health department confirmed the first case in the area. There have been four total cases of the viral infection in Ohio and nearly 29,000 cases nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On Saturday, the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus causes a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus, according to the CDC. People may also have a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

"Monkeypox is spread primarily by skin-to-skin contact, by direct contact or can be spread by respiratory droplets, but really requires almost like face-to-face contact, kissing or being very close to someone," said Dr. Keith Armitage, an infectious disease doctor with University Hospitals.

There is a vaccine that prevents the disease, but it is not currently widely available.

Magolius said he would like to see those vaccines become more readily available in Northeast Ohio, but right now, the federal government is limiting vaccines to areas of higher spread — like New York City.

"At this point there are no vaccines other than for folks who have had a direct exposure," he said. "Hopefully that will change soon, I know that there are vaccines in production, but I just don't have a sense of the timeline yet."

Those who are old enough to have been vaccinated against smallpox have some protection against monkeypox because the diseases are related, Armitage said. The American public was routinely vaccinated for smallpox until 1972 when the disease was eradicated in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Thus far, monkeypox has disproportionately affected gay men, but Margolius said there has been some hesitancy in the medical community to target messaging efforts due to the potential for stigmatizing people.

Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said that her agency has been reaching out directly to LGBTQ people with information on symptoms and how to prevent spread.

Dr. Amy Ray, a medical director of infection prevention and regulatory affairs at Metro Health, said that it is not time to panic about monkeypox because it's fairly difficult to catch without prolonged contact.

"The other reason why it doesn't panic me is because it's self-limited, meaning it gets better on its own," she said.

Lisa Ryan is a health reporter at Ideastream Public Media.
Stephanie is the digital producer of Ideastream Public Media’s health team.