Columbus Health Commissioner separates facts from fiction about monkeypox
Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts has been getting a lot of questions about monkeypox in recent weeks as several reported cases in the Ohio are sounding the alarm.
Roberts said it is important to be vigilant to help contain the virus.
“This is a new virus that we're seeing here in the United States, but unlike COVID-19 It is a virus that those of us in the medical field and in the public health arena are familiar with, and there are some treatments out there as well as some preventive measures out there, “ Roberts said.
Monkeypox is spread through close intimate contact, and the general population is not at the greatest risk right now, she said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not provided vaccines to the state for distribution but could provide some as soon as August, Roberts said.
“This is a serious issue in the sense that we're seeing it in the United States in a population that we hadn't usually seen. This is something that is usually restricted to Africa and the African countries and now we're seeing it here in the United States, “ she said.
Roberts says most of the cases are being discovered among men who have sex with other men, but it could eventually stretch into other populations.
“Most of the cases that we're seeing, not only here in Ohio but also across the country have been in the MSM community. But obviously, MSM community do not live in a silo by themselves and they interact with others. And so it's not unusual that we'd see spread outside of that population, “ she said.
There have been 15 reported cases in Ohio as of Tuesday, according to the federal government.
Last week, the chief of the World Health Organization said the expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the U.N. Health Agency, made the decision to issue the declaration Saturday after the WHO’s expert committee failed to reach a consensus.
Monkeypox has been established in parts of central and west Africa for decades. It wasn't known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May. That's when authorities detected epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.
According to the CDC, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 74 countries.
The Associated Press' Maria Cheng contributed to this story.