CINCINNATI — The City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and regional health leaders came together Monday to announce steps being taken to stop the spread of monkeypox in the Tri-State.
As of August 1, out of Ohio's 23 reported cases, only two are in Cincinnati.
Hamilton County Public Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said that although cases across the country are rising, Ohio isn't seeing a spike.
"The chances of you just going into the community today and catching monkeypox is low," Kesterman said.
According to health experts, the disease is spread through "close" and "intimate" contact with someone who already has the virus. Although it is extremely contagious, it doesn't spread through the air like COVID-19. Monkeypox can cause a rash which may look like pimples or blisters, sometimes with a flu-like illness, according to the CDC. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.
Cincinnati city leaders said they want to lead the nation in response to this virus but want to be very clear with their messaging: City Councilmember Reggie Harris said he wants to make sure the response does not stigmatize the LGBTQ community.
"As a member of the LGBTQ community, I feel this deeply because many folks in my community are afraid of contracting the Monkeypox virus."
Harris said he is working on an advocacy plan to take proactive steps in providing the vaccine to those who qualify.
"Although anyone can contract the monkeypox virus, most cases are among men who have sex with men which is why we must target our education and message to those individuals in the LGBTQ community," Harris said.
Hamilton County Health Commissioner Denise Driehaus said she is confident in the county's response to the virus.
"We already have an infrastructure that we have used because of COVID-19," Driehaus said. "The city health department, the county health department, the health collaborative and the hospitals now know how to work together with one another to make sure this community is informed."
To find out more about the monkeypox virus and vaccination eligibility, click HERE.
There are just over 5,000 cases of monkeypox in the U.S. The virus has also been reported in Kentucky and Indiana. The commonwealth is reporting only 8 confirmed cases and there are 49 Hoosiers with the virus.
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