No cases yet, but Vigo prepares for monkeypox

·2 min read

Aug. 6—While there haven't been any monkeypox cases in Vigo County, the local health department is preparing for the possibility.

The Vigo County Health Department has received monkeypox vaccine from the Indiana Department of Health, which establishes the rules for its use, said Linda Deckert, local health department director of nursing.

"Right now, we are not giving any prophylactically (for disease prevention). We're only giving them if you are diagnosed with a case of monkeypox," she said. "This helps lessens symptoms."

If people believe they are exhibiting signs and symptoms of monkeypox, they should first call their personal doctor or health care provider and request testing. "They should call ahead and not walk in," she said.

"Some doctors don't want them coming into the office if they think they actually have monkeypox" because it is contagious, Deckert said. In some cases, doctors may want the individual to wait in the car.

Most doctors in the community should have monkeypox testing supplies, she said.

Testing consists of swabbing the monkeypox and sending it to a lab. If results are positive, "Then we treat it," Deckert said.

If people don't have a family physician, they should contact the health department. The health clinic number is 812-462-3431.

Signs and symptoms to look for include fever, fatigue and small blisters that get larger.

While the disease is not presently a concern in Vigo County, "I do want people to know we are ready to go if we have a case," she said.

For the past month, Deckert been participating in weekly Indiana Department of Health teleconferences for updates on the disease.

Statewide, Indiana has had 68 cases to-date. Nationwide, there have been 7,510 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control website. Illinois has had 602 cases.

According to an Aug. 4 IDOH school webinar, the risk of contracting monkeypox "is very low. Most of the spread has been by intimate sexual contact and large respiratory droplets."

As of that Aug. 4 webinar, only two children in Indiana had tested positive for monkeypox.

For more information about monkeypox, go to Monkeypox.health.in.gov.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.