Duke Health experts say monkeypox cases will keep rising in NC :: WRAL.com

North Carolina added nine new cases of monkeypox on Friday, bringing the state to nearly 100 cases since the outbreak began.

Duke Health experts say they expect this number to continue to rise.

Nearly all cases involve men who have sex with other men – but doctors believe it’s only a matter of time before more women and children become infected as well. Monkeypox spreads through close, often intimate, skin-to-skin contact.

“If we compare this to COVID, which was predominantly a respiratory infection, this is an order of magnitude less contagious,” said Dr. Cameron Wolfe, an infectious disease specialist at Duke Health.

While it’s mainly spreading among gay and bisexual men, Wolfe says monkey pox should be on everyone’s radar.

“There’s nothing about the way the virus moves that cares about your gender, who you love or who you hang out with,” he said. “There’s no reason this should stay in those populations.”

Monkeypox transmission in households and schools

Pediatrician Dr. Ibukun Kalu expects transmission in the household, but not in nurseries and schools.

“Children with a history of skin inflammation, especially dermatitis or eczema, are more likely to have a moderate or severe presentation,” he said.

Vaccinations Available in North Carolina

The virus starts with a fever, followed by a rash and painful blisters that take 2 to 3 weeks to heal.

To help fight the outbreak, the state is getting thousands of additional doses of the monkeypox vaccine. However, statistics show that less than a quarter of the shots went into combat.

Doctors say the vaccines can prevent infection. At this time, North Carolina has received more than 10,000 doses. However, only about 2,200, or 22%, have been administered.

Wake County has 550 doses available, and right now those are only for those considered high-risk — a group that includes gay and bisexual men who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the past 3 months.

“I think we need to think about things from a health equity lens and make sure we’re reaching the right people, going at the pace that we need,” said Dr. Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Dean of the Duke University School of Nursing.

Wake County to organize walk-in monkey pox vaccine

Doctors say those who have already been vaccinated against smallpox probably have some protection against monkeypox – but it’s unclear how many and those people at risk are encouraged to get the newer vaccine.

On Saturdays, Wake County will be holding a free walk-in vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the health center on Sunnybrook Road.

Leave a Comment