RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina health officials confirmed seven more cases of monkeypox, bringing the total number of cases up to 20.
North Carolina is not alone in seeing an uptick in this rare virus. There are at least 1,800 probable or confirmed case of monkeypox in the United States. Worldwide, the number of cases has surpassed 12,000.
The virus is spread by close person to person or skin to skin contact.
So far, many of the cases have been detected in men who have recently had sex with another man. However, experts warn that is not because the virus targets gay men.
"Obviously, from a demographic standpoint, it's heavily weighted to men who have sex with men," Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "Now, when you look at that, does that mean it is only gay man's disease? No, not the case. But under the circumstances of certain types of behavior, that can be spread, which is the reason why, although you do not want to stigmatize under any circumstances."
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On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people have expressed fear that monkeypox could result in similar human and economic costs. However, health experts say that appears very unlikely because the virus is less contagious and there is already a safe and effective vaccine for monkeypox.