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Indiana resident dies, IDOH says monkeypox was a "contributing factor"

Posted at 1:15 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 13:15:39-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) says an Indiana resident has died and monkeypox was a contributing factor.

IDOH says the person also had "multiple other" health conditions that contributed to the death.

No information, including the person's sex, age or county of residence, has been released. This is the first monkeypox related death in Indiana.

“Although monkeypox cases in Indiana have declined significantly as a result of the availability of vaccine, it is important to remember that this disease is still circulating and can cause severe illness and death,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Our hearts go out to the family of this Hoosier, and I encourage anyone who is at risk to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.”

IDOH says since June 17, 264 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Indiana, with most occurring among males ages 18 to 39.

More information about monkeypox and the vaccine are available online.

>More about Monkeypox

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monkeypox is a disease caused by infection with a virus that's part of the same family as the variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar, but milder. It is not related to chickenpox.

The rare disease was first discovered in 1958 and the first human case was recorded in 1970. It had been reported in people in several central and western African countries prior to an outbreak this year, according to the CDC.

Many of those affected in the current outbreak are men who have sexual contact with other men, but anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has the illness can contract it.

The risk of transmission in the general U.S. population is considered low, as it does not spread easily between people without close contact, according to the Marion County Health Department.

Symptoms of monkeypox include a rash, which may look like pimples or blisters, and can spread through person-to-person contact in several different ways, such as the following, according to the Marion County Health Department:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs from a person with monkeypox. This is believed to be the most common way that virus is spreading in the U.S.
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
  • During pregnancy, the virus can spread to a fetus through the placenta.

Antiviral drugs and vaccines have been developed to protect against, prevent and treat monkeypox infections. People who test positive for the disease should isolate while they're infected. In some cases, close contacts may also need to quarantine.

More information on monkeypox is available on the CDC's website.