PHOENIX — The U.S. is now leading globally with known monkeypox cases. There are at least 3,487 confirmed cases in the country according to the CDC.
Here in Arizona, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health is helping mitigate the spread by providing free vaccines for those most at risk.
Due to limited supply, only those who’ve had direct contact with someone with monkeypox are eligible for vaccines.
“The general public at this time is not at risk of getting monkeypox,” said Dr. Nick Staab with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
Dr. Staab, a medical epidemiologist, says monkeypox is a viral infection that primarily presents as a rash and has an incubation period of two-to-three weeks.
“And then an individual is considered infectious from the moment they get sick, start feeling ill symptoms until the moment those scabs fall off,” he added.
He says the virus is spread through skin to skin contact with a lesion or rash.
“The rash goes through different stages. Any stage is contagious or can transmit the virus. So, it’s not like COVID, that’s easily transmitted in the air,” said Dr. Staab.
Will Hutcheson was diagnosed with monkeypox a couple weeks ago.
“I got chills. I had a lot of aches. And I also had a super low-grade fever,” said Hutcheson.
According to the CDC, California has at least 356 cases, Texas has at least 223 and Florida has at least 309.
New York leads the nation with at least 900 cases.
The Arizona Department of Health Services says Maricopa and Pima counties are the only ones to have reported cases.
We followed up with both counties and found Arizona has at least 42 known cases; 38 in Maricopa County and 4 in Pima County.
Should you have symptoms and test positive, Dr. Staab says you should immediately isolate yourself from others.
“Covering that rash. Making sure that they’re not having direct contact. And thinking about other contact within their household. So even sharing textiles. Sharing sheets, and towels.”
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health department currently has just under 3,000 vaccines to give out and will be prioritizing those who’ve had direct contact with monkeypox.
It stresses that if you haven’t had direct contact with someone with the virus the risk of contracting monkeypox is very low.
The department will be providing free vaccines at its immunization clinic for those who are most vulnerable on:
- July 27 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- August 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- August 8 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The clinic is located at 1645 E Roosevelt Street in Phoenix.