Yahoo News/WCPO: Monkeypox reported in Cincinnati, but doctor says not to hit panic button yet

UC expert says disease spreads by close contact

The Cincinnati Health Department recently confirmed two cases of monkeypox in the city, and the disease has been reported in nearly all 50 states. In a story produced by WCPO-TV and published on Yahoo News, Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine says monkeypox has had limited outbreaks for decades, but now it’s spreading across the world.

Fichtenbaum said it spreads by having close contact with someone. He noted it needs to be sufficient contact, such as eating a meal or spending hours with someone.

Dr. Fichtenbaum and Jassiel HIV study in lab.

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

“It’s a virus that causes a sort of mild flu-like illness and you get spots on your skin, blisters, pustules,” he said. “Most people do get a rash and it can start out like a little red bump and then almost look like white head where it gets a little cover on it and you can almost see some puss underneath it. Sometimes it can look like a blister and sometimes it comes up in a variety of different shapes and sizes and forms.”

He said the rash is why some doctors are having trouble identifying monkeypox.

“The rash doesn’t have to look uniform in some way and it can come in various different places of the body, it doesn’t have to be all over," Fichtenbaum said. "It can be in just one place and I think that’s fooled some of the doctors who have been looking at people."

Fichtenbaum believes the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency to help contain it.

“When you list an emergency, what that does is send an alert to countries to enlist the support of their public health system to try and contain the spread of the disease,” Fichtenbaum said.

Fichtenbaum said there are likely more cases of monkeypox than what is reported in the U.S. due to a lack of testing and vaccine availability.

“Testing is pretty limited and that’s one of the big problems right now,” Fichtenbaum said. “They are probably people who have very atypical cases and so they’re not even being tested.”

See the entire story here

Fichtenbaum was also featured in a story produced by Spectrum News about the COVID-19 pill Paxlovid. See that coverage here

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