• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Monday, August 15, 2022

Forsyth has two monkeypox cases, vaccine is available for high-risk individuals

Forsyth County has two confirmed cases of monkeypox.

Public Health officials are conducting case investigations which includes contact tracing to identity close contacts who may benefit from vaccination. To protect the individuals’ privacy, no further information is being released about them.

If you believe you’ve come in contact with someone with monkeypox, you should contact your local health department to discuss exposure potential and possible need for vaccination. If you develop symptoms of Monkeypox, contact your medical provider for evaluation, examination and sample collection. Testing for Monkeypox can only occur once lesions have developed.

The monkeypox rash may initially appear similar to pimples, blisters, or raised bumps that appear on the face, inside the mouth or other parts of the body, like hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus and may be accompanied by fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The rash may be painful and itchy, and will go through several stages before healing, including scabs. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks and is rarely fatal.

Monkeypox is spread through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
While early cases of monkeypox are heavily concentrated among men who have sex with men, anyone can contract the virus. The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has been working to immunize those with a higher risk of contracting the disease and has been administering vaccinations by appointment at the Public Health Department and once a week at North Star LGBTQ Community Center. As of Friday, Forsyth Public Health has given 297 doses of the vaccine in the last four weeks.

The vaccine is currently available, by appointment only, for the following individuals:
  • Men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who report any of the following in the last 90 days:
    • Having multiple or anonymous sex partners
    • Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
    • Receiving HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • People who have had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox
Appointments can be made by calling 336-703-3100. Supply is limited, but Forsyth Public Health is anticipating additional vaccine shipments and for the eligibility criteria to eventually expand as the vaccine supply increases.

For the latest information about monkeypox from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/monkeypox.

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