GARY, Ind. — Health officials have identified Indiana's second case of monkeypox, a viral disease similar to smallpox that causes a fever, headache, sore throat and rash that looks like water blisters.
One of the cases was identified in Gary, the city's mayor confirmed in a press conference Tuesday.
"Considering our proximity to Chicago, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that this virus has spread to the city of Gary," Mayor Jerome Prince said.
He emphasized that there's "no reason to be alarmed" and that there's "absolutely no reason to panic."
Prince and other city leaders don't believe that monkeypox is as easily transmissible as COVID-19. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box echoed this point over the weekend, when the first monkeypox case was identified in the state.
“The risk of monkeypox among the general public continues to be extremely low,” Box said. “Monkeypox is rare and does not easily spread through brief casual contact. Please continue to take the same steps you do to protect against any infection, including washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, and check with a healthcare provider if you have any new signs or symptoms.”
Person-to-person transmission is possible either through skin-to-skin contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores or contaminated items, such as bedding or clothing, or through exposure to respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact, according to IDOH.
To date, the CDC has confirmed 142 monkeypox cases in 24 states and territories this year.