Monkeypox

In May of 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) began tracking a global Monkeypox outbreak.

The first case of Monkeypox in humans was recorded in 1970 and has been present in many central and western African countries since, but the current outbreak is being monitored as it presents and spreads in different ways than has been seen in the past. This outbreak has been identified as the West African type of Monkeypox and is rarely fatal, but can cause extremely painful symptoms.

Vaccines Available

The Jynneos vaccine can prevent Monkeypox or reduce the severity of illness if given within two weeks of exposure. The vaccine is well-tolerated and consists of two doses separated by at least 28 days.

The Pandemic Operations Center is providing free vaccinations to high-risk individuals aged 18 and older. The Jynneos vaccine is available for individuals who self-identify as meeting the following criteria:

  • People who have been in close physical contact with someone diagnosed with Monkeypox in the last 14 days
  • Men who have sex with other 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 disease
    • Receiving HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
  • Certain healthcare workers and public health response team members designated by public health authorities

To schedule an appointment for vaccination, call the Pandemic Operations Call Center at 910-798-6800.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by an orthopox virus that is spread through close physical contact, such as skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact with someone that has Monkeypox.

While Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection it can be spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. It can also be spread through contact with items that have been used by someone with Monkeypox.

Anyone can get Monkeypox, but this outbreak is affecting men that have sex with men at a higher rate. Monkeypox can only be spread from someone that has symptoms.

Monkeypox symptoms usually appear 1 to 2 weeks after exposure and can include a rash that can look like pimples or blisters and flu-like illness.  Symptoms can be extremely painful and usually last 2 to 4 weeks.

The Monkeypox virus can be spread from the start of symptoms until the rash is fully healed. Most cases of Monkeypox will recover on their own, however, some infections may result in hospitalization with children and immunocompromised individuals being at higher risk of severe infection.

If you think you may have been exposed to a person with Monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing a new, unexplained skin rash, with or without a flu-like illness, avoid close contact with others and contact a healthcare provider immediately to be tested. Testing is completed by obtaining a swab of the rash that is sent to the state lab for processing.

To schedule an appointment for testing, call 910-798-6531 or 910-798-6532.

Health: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7834 • Human Services Fax 910-798-7824
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815
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