Health experts from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and other organizations discussed monkeypox testing, prevention, and vaccines at city hall on August 30.
Speakers at the event included Dr. Victoria Mobley, NCDHHS Medical Consultant, NCDHHS Deputy Director of Health Mark Benton, and Tanya Bass, founder of the NC Sexual Health Conference.
The event was moderated by Rebby Kern, Director of Education Policy for Equality NC.
According to Mobley, there were 48,844 cases of monkeypox globally on August 29, with 18,101 nationwide on August 29 and 312 in North Carolina on August 30.
There are a total of 322 monkeypox cases, including a total of 11,420 vaccines administered in North Carolina, as of September 1, according to NCDHHS.
Men make up 99% of the current cases in North Carolina. Black patients account for 68% of cases, and Hispanic patients account for 9% of his. Mobley also said North Carolina sees most cases among people living with HIV.
About 70% of monkeypox case diagnoses were in black men, but less than a quarter of the vaccinations were given to blacks in North Carolina, according to the NCDHHS August 10 stock report. .
He said the report was a call to action, with both the Pride Event and the Triangle Empowerment Center holding immunization clinics to better reach those most affected. .
Mobley said monkeypox rates around the world are starting to plateau, and that trend may be happening in North Carolina as well.
“This is the realization that we are catching up with the monkeypox epidemic in our population,” she said.
Monkeypox is transmitted through close personal or skin-to-skin contact with a person who has a monkeypox rash. Mobley advised people to talk to their doctors about abnormalities such as rashes, painful swallowing, and bowel movements rather than looking for typical symptoms.
Bass said people should be careful about being in close contact with others. In particular, gatherings, clubs, and hot places increase the chances of exposed skin.
Mobley mentioned other routes of transmission, including respiratory droplets, infected sheets and linens, and sexual intercourse.
“There are multiple routes of transmission, but at the moment we are fully aware that it is transmitted through activities that occur during sex,” she said.
Mobley said the debate over whether monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease is still ongoing. said it was unclear whether the material was infectious.
“We don’t want people to panic, but we can help people care about their own health and the health of others in general, while we can pay special attention to the communities most affected. I hope so,” Bass said. .
She and her colleagues are working to reduce the stigma surrounding monkeypox because of its association with sex.
Benton said there is sufficient access to monkeypox testing, which can be done at primary care physicians, local clinics or county health departments. said supply was increasing.
“In the last few days, we have received over 18,000 new doses of monkeypox vaccine,” Benton said.
Mobley said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have provided guidance on how to make vaccine supplies last longer.
Initially, in North Carolina, one vial of vaccine was used per patient and administered subcutaneously. Currently, one-fifth of her vial can be used per person when administering the vaccine intradermally.
She said this method leaves small bubbles under the skin, which can lead to more redness and swelling on the arm.
Mobley said patients don’t develop full immunity until two weeks after the second dose.
Monkeypox testing is available at Campus Health, according to an emailed statement from Ken Pittman, executive director of Campus Health at UNC. The need for testing is determined based on symptoms and likelihood of exposure. Results are available in 2-3 business days.
At Campus Health, anyone known or suspected to have monkeypox, a man who has sex with men, has multiple or anonymous sex partners, has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, or We also offer vaccines to transgender people who report that they have HIV. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Dose is dependent on weekly allotments from the Orange County Health Department and NCDHHS.
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