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Experts say they’re watching monkeypox but 'not as much concern' for average Hoosier

The exterior of the Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. The image is criss-crossed by power lines and has snow on the ground.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
Brian Dixon, interim director of the Regenstrief Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics, said most people aren’t likely going to come into contact with someone at the grocery store and get monkeypox.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed five cases of monkeypox in Indiana since the state reported its first on June 18. But experts say the average Hoosier probably shouldn’t be too worried.

The U.S. accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s total monkeypox cases. Brian Dixon is the interim director of the Regenstrief Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics.

“What we’re seeing is that this virus is spreading in predominantly urban areas, in predominantly in large gatherings where people are coming into contact with one another and that leading into, especially sexual contact,” Dixon said.

Dixon suggests Hoosiers who do engage in casual sex make sure to have a conversation with their partner beforehand – especially about travel or rashes. And if they do develop a rash, to make sure to get tested.

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But monkeypox is not solely transmissible through sexual contact. Dixon said cohabitating with someone who has monkeypox or touching open sores can also spread the virus.

“We’re certainly concerned about it and watching it. But for the average person, they’re not going to come into contact – likely – with someone at the grocery store and get monkeypox,” Dixon said.

The 2003 monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. was spread through prairie dogs kept as pets.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and exhaustion, usually before a rash develops.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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Lauren is the digital editor for our statewide collaboration, and is based in Indianapolis at WFYI. Since starting for IPB News in 2016, she's covered everything from protests and COVID-19 to esports and policy. She's a proud Ball State University alumna and grew up on the west side of Indianapolis.