Wake County reports state's first cases of monkeypox in women

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Thursday, August 25, 2022
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Wake County Public Health said it has confirmed cases of monkeypox in two women, the first known cases in the state.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County Public Health has identified the state's first confirmed cases of monkeypox in women.

Two women are affected. No additional information about these residents will be disclosed.

"While this global outbreak appears to mostly affect men who have sex with other men, monkeypox is a public health concern for all of us," said Rebecca Kaufman, Wake County Preventative Health Director. "Although there is a low level of risk from just being in the same area as someone who has monkeypox, it is always important to clean surfaces, wear a mask when needed and wash hands frequently."

Monkeypox is transmitted person-to-person through direct skin-to-skin contact, having contact with an infectious rash, through body fluids or through respiratory secretions. Such contact often occurs during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex.

RELATED: Wake County using new injection method to stretch monkeypox vaccine supply

As of Aug. 25, there are 31 documented cases of the virus confirmed in Wake County.

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. The symptoms can include a fever and sores that can spread all over the body. Earlier this month, the monkeypox outbreak was declared a federal public health emergency, a move meant to help unlock resources to curb the spread.

To date, Wake County Public Health as administered more than 1,300 doses of the vaccine.

Free vaccines are available in limited supply to people with known or suspected exposure to monkeypox. This includes:

READ MORE: UNC debuts state's first in-house monkeypox test, reducing result wait times

Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox, or gay or bisexual men or transgender people who report any of the following in the last 90 days:

  • Having multiple sex partners or anonymous sex
  • Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
  • Receiving medications to prevent HIV infection (PrEP)

To request a vaccination, click here and fill out the online self-attestation form; or call the monkeypox call center at (919) 212-9398, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.