Columbus, OH,
21:54 PM

Monkeypox Outbreak Declared as a Public Health Emergency

Monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency by the secretary of Health and Human services.

Monkeypox is a virus that is spread through close, intimate contact with someone that has the viru. The CDC says people with monkeypox may have a rash that is located near or on the genitals and could be on other areas of the body, including face, chest, hands and feet.  

As of August 11, there are close to 9,000 confirmed monkeypox cases in the US , with 75 confirmed cases in Ohio. There have been no deaths from monkeypox within the United States.

Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases, spoke to Brandon Boxer with 610 WTVN about what the public health emergency means. “This means the federal government is going to have more infrastructure, more money available for things that we need to be doing. Getting the vaccines out there and also getting testing out there and also getting messages to the public and providers that monkeypox is here, ” Dr. Gastaldo said.

Much like the COVID-19 vaccine, the monkeypox vaccine is in  high demand, which means a current low supply. Vaccines are being supplied by the number of confirmed cases within each state. Therefore, Ohio currently has a low supply of monkeypox vaccines due to having under 100 confirmed cases.

The current eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine is based on how many sexual partners you have, if you’re living with HIV or you’re a sex worker.

“If you do have more sexual partners, if you have more intimate contact with people, that obviously raises the chances of you coming in contact with monkeypox or HIV or any other type of thing that you can get with close intimate contact,” Dr. Gastaldo said. However, Dr. Gastaldo emphasizes that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, but it is transmitted through intimate contact with people.

If you are not eligible for a monkeypox vaccine, there are still various ways to stay safe. Many of these are like the practices put in place to protect you from COVID-19. 

“There are some spillover infections outside at the community of men have sex with men. For example, if you have somebody in your household who has monkeypox, that is a high risk exposure for anybody who lives with them,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

Dr. Gastaldo says that those infected with Monkeypox need to quarantine, cover their lesions, use their own bathrooms, and sequester their clothing and bedding.

To learn more about monkeypox, click here to read an article that appeared on the OhioHealth Blog. 

To listen to Dr. Gastaldo’s full interview on 610 WTVN, click the station’s logo below.