WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – There are now 40 confirmed cases of monkeypox in North Carolina according to the state health department.
New Hanover County Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell says the real number of cases is likely much higher.
“My suspicion is there are cases that have simply not been known because there is a variability in how the disease presents,” Campbell said.
Despite a rise in cases nationwide, health officials say its important to keep in mind that not every virus is the same.
“Yes, cases are increasing,” said Campbell. “However, this is much less infectious than other diseases we have seen out there, including COVID or influenza.”
Still, Campbell urges you to be careful and understand those differences.
“The general spread of monkeypox is with close physical contact,” Campbell explained. “So, one would expect that there’s going to be a narrower amount of exposure compared to COVID which can easily circulate throughout a room if someone walks in the room and is coughing or sneezing.”
Vaccines are available in New Hanover County to those who have monkeypox, have been exposed, or those health officials say are at higher risk.
“Right now, even though the criteria may suggest a specific population, what individuals need to understand is the virus does not spread exclusively through any one gender, ethnicity, sexuality or social network,” said Campbell. “Anyone can be affected by monkey pox.”
Like with the current surge in COVID-19 infections, the core message remains.
“I do find the increasing case numbers concerning and that’s where we all need to work together to do the best we can to minimize the impacts of current infectious surges,” said Campbell.
NCDHHS and Equality NC will host a virtual town hall on monkeypox on Thursday.
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