March 27, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Monkeypox was a contributing factor in the recent death of an Indiana resident, state health officials said Wednesday.

The Indiana Department of Health said the person who died had a monkeypox infection as well as multiple other health conditions which contributed to that individual’s death. Patient privacy laws prevent officials from releasing additional information about the person who died.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this Hoosier, and I encourage anyone who is at risk to protect themselves by getting vaccinated,” State Health Commissioner Kris Box said in a news release.

“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,” she added.

Since mid-June, 264 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Indiana, with most occurring among males ages 18 to 39, the state health department said.

The vast majority of U.S. monkeypox cases have been among men who reported recent sexual contact with other men.

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected by the virus through bites from rodents or small animals, but it wasn’t considered a disease that spreads easily among people until May, when infections emerged in Europe and the U.S.

The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox.

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