RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are growing concerns as the number of Monkeypox cases continues to rise. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 7,102 Monkeypox cases across the United States.
Thursday, the Biden Administration declared the virus a public health emergency
"I think we should certainly be aware of this as a condition that's not going to go away," said Dr. Cameron Wolfe, infectious disease specialist with Duke Health.
In North Carolina, the Department of Health and Human Services has reported 86 confirmed cases since June.
" We know there are more cases. I mean, that's 86 people who've been aware enough of their symptoms, have gone and been able to find a clinician as arranged a test that they know their test result, there's going to be a bunch of people who are probably positive at the moment and either working their way through that evaluation or didn't even know that this was possible for them. So it's likely to be more than that," explained Wolfe.
Monkeypox can be spread through close person-to-person contact, including intimate contact. The DHHS reported nearly all the Monkeypox cases in the state have been in men who have sex with men.
Dr. Wolfe said Monkeypox can also impact other communities
"One of the mistakes that I've heard, a really bad mistake recently was someone who, for all intents and purposes had symptoms and signs consistent with monkeypox, and came to a clinic and couldn't get testing because they and a clinician thought this was only going to be a condition amongst gay men. That's a crucial error," Wolfe said.
In Wake County, the public health department is expanding resources to keep up with the demand of people wanting to be tested and vaccinated to protect them from Monkeypox.
A county spokesperson said the agency has added more nurses to vaccinate patients, extended hours, and will soon launch an online portal to schedule vaccinations.
Public health has also shifted nine Communicable Disease staff members to the call center to clear a backlog of voicemail inquiries.
Wake County will hold its first-ever vaccine popup clinic on Saturday, August 6th at the Wake public health center on Sunnybrook Road in Raleigh. The walk in event will be held from 10 am to 3pm.
Appointments are necessary but you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
People who have been in close physical contact with someone diagnosed with Monkeypox in the past 14 days (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis or PEP)
Men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who report any of the following in the past 90 days:
- Having multiple or anonymous sex partners
- Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
- Receiving HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP
"I'm glad Wake County is doing that. Because at the end of the day, part of the lesson learned from COVID was different strategies work in different towns and counties as to how we can get vaccines to people who need them," Wolfe said.