HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Monkeypox cases are increasing across the United States, including here in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has provided data on how many cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the state so far, along with other essential resources in order to combat the spread of the painful disease.
North Carolina’s first case was identified on June 23, 2022, and as of August 11, there are 131 cases across the state.
The highest case count is concentrated in Mecklenberg County, the only red county on the map, with more than 15 reported cases. Buncombe, Durham, Guilford and Wake Counties are all dark orange, meaning they have between three and 14 cases. The yellow counties are counties with one or two known cases. In the Triad, there are have been cases in Caswell, Randolph, Davidson and Montgomery Counties.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus that causes flu-like symptoms and a painful rash. It's in the same family of illnesses as smallpox, though it's not nearly as severe as smallpox. It is considered a "zoonotic" disease, meaning it's a disease that can spread from animals to human beings. Despite the name, the primary vector of monkeypox transmission is rodents, but non-human primates transmit it as well.
Monkeypox usually lasts two to four weeks, according to the WHO.
The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days, with the first part of the illness characterized by fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and muscle aches. The rash comes in within a few days of the fever, with the blisters concentrated on the face and the extremities.
Children and those with underlying immune deficiencies can have more severe symptoms from monkeypox.
Complications of monkeypox can include secondary infections, sepsis, encephalitis, and eye infections.
Fatality is between three and six percent.
How is it spread?
Monkeypox can be spread to anyone through close contact. Primarily this is through direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has been infected with monkeypox, but contact with items that have been used by someone who is infected or prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets can also spread it.
Currently, the spread of monkeypox in the United States is primarily impacting gay and bisexual men. However, despite this current concentration, monkeypox is not exclusively spread through sexual contact and is not exclusive to the gay community.
Where can I get tested?
You can contact your primary care provider or local health department for testing information, the DHHS says.
"There is no shortage of testing supplies," according to the DHHS website. "Samples must be collected by a health care professional, and they must follow a specific procedure to collect a good sample for testing. NCDHHS recommends providers test any patient with a suspicious lesion or sore."
Where can I get vaccinated?
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has provided a list of health departments in North Carolina that can provide vaccinations to people who are eligible.