INDIANAPOLIS – The state announced its first monkeypox-related death.

The Indiana Department of Health said monkeypox was a contributing factor in the Indiana resident’s death; the person had multiple other contributing health conditions. The state wouldn’t provide additional information regarding the person’s age or location due to privacy laws.

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

The health department announced Indiana’s first probable case of monkeypox in June 2022. In all, 264 cases have been reported in the state, most of them among men between the ages of 18 and 39.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is part of the same family as smallpox. Symptoms usually surface within 21 days of exposure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptom of monkeypox is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. These can appear in the mouth or other parts of the body; other symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, body aches and fatigue.

Those infected with monkeypox should be isolated. The illness typically lasts between two and four weeks; it’s infectious from the time symptoms start until the rash is fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

According to the CDC, there are several ways for monkeypox to spread, including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs from a person with monkeypox. This is believed to be the most common way that virus is spreading in the U.S.
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
  • During pregnancy the virus can spread to a fetus through the placenta.