Savannah doctor not concerned by monkeypox outbreak

Monkeypox Vaccination Site Opens In West Hollywood, CA

Photo: Getty Images

By Sarah Winkelmann

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 5:38 AM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There’s now over 14,000 cases of monkeypox in the U.S.

And now the disease is beginning to infect children. White House officials say they’re accelerating its response to the growing number of cases.

Along with the increased number of vaccine doses, the White House plan includes expanded access to antiviral treatment, accelerating vaccine allocation, and a plan to have enough vaccines by late September.

While monkeypox cases are still spreading, there is not concern about the virus from local health officials.

Of the 14,000 cases nationally, about 1,000 of them were reported in Georgia, but the majority of those are in the Atlanta metro area - specifically in men.

Of those cases, it’s predominantly men who have sex with other men. There are only 11 women who have a confirmed case in the state.

The Coastal Health District says monkeypox is almost never a fatal illness – it is uncomfortable but people recover.

Dr. Lawton Davis says unless something changes with the virus, he expects the monkeypox outbreak will burn itself out in the next six to eight months, but does not see it becoming a problem for the general public like we have seen with COVID.

“I think that for the general public, unless you are engaging in activities that would place you at high risk of contracting the illness your risk is very, very, very low. If you are providing care for somebody that has it, you need to be very careful…you could conceivably contract it by handling the sheets that they slept in, or the towels, or clothing if you were going to wash clothes,” Dr. Davis said.

There is a vaccine available for monkeypox. They encourage the vaccine for men who have sex with other men or someone who regularly comes in close intimate contact with men who have sex with other men.

The Coastal Health District is offering that vaccine at two locations - one in Savannah and one in Brunswick. They have given out almost 600 vaccines so far and are still offering them.

There is a new statewide tool to see where you can get a vaccine, to access that just head to their website. Once there, scroll down and click “learn more” under “Find a Vaccine and Register for an Appointment.”

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