Senate District 23
Nickie J. Antonio
Antonio Urges Department of Health to Accelerate Monkeypox Response
August 3, 2022
Today, state Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) sent a letter to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff urging him to accelerate Ohio’s response to the outbreak of the monkeypox virus, which he recently declared a “disease of significant public concern” that poses a risk of human fatality or disability in the state.

“On the heels of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, we have learned many lessons on how a quick, proper and thorough public health response to an infectious disease outbreak can save lives,” Antonio said in her letter. “In spite of this, we have not seen the Ohio Department of Health issue a strategic plan or conduct outreach to educate the public about the disease. This is particularly crucial for the LGBTQ community, which is statistically less likely to seek healthcare but has seen a rapid spread of the virus.”

Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, though it has milder symptoms and is rarely fatal. The first case of monkeypox in Ohio was identified in June. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), there were 30 identified cases in Ohio as of August 2.

“I believe it is incumbent upon you, our state’s health director, to respond appropriately to disease outbreaks while ensuring that those in need of treatment do not feel stigmatized accessing care,” Antonio said.

Read the full letter here
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