Monkeypox cases in NC more prevalent in gay, African American men

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – When it comes to monkeypox, the infectious viral disease does not discriminate. Anyone can become infected. Even some animals are at risk. Of the 86 known cases in North Carolina, however, most are gay, African American men.

“Nearly all of our cases are in men who have sex with men and more than 60 percent of the cases have been in black men,” said Kody Kinsley, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Kinsley says the health disparity is a concern and wants those who are currently at greatest risk of contracting the virus to get vaccinated. He adds that while monkeypox is primarily spreading among homosexual men, it won’t necessarily stay there.

“We’ll see it spread into other places,” Kinsley said. “We’ve seen across the country women and children outside of that community get it as well but its important that we not get alarmed. This is the time to take action. If you see any sores or lesions that you are concerned about, talk to your doctor.”

Monkeypox is not a new virus. The first case was reported in 1970. It’s often compared to smallpox which was far more contagious.

“What’s really different about Monkeypox is we have tools readily available–testing and a growing supply of vaccination that allows us to protect against this virus. We don’t usually see it outside of an endemic region but we’re seeing it now.”

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