JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – It was just over a month ago when the Mississippi Department of Health reported its first case of Monkeypox.
Now, there are a total of 45, according to MSDH.
Of the 45 cases, more than two dozen have been confirmed in Central Mississippi.
”I think the concern for everybody is sort of congregations of people in general, as you get into the fall months,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, who’s an infectious disease specialist with Baptist Memorial Health Care.
“You have schools where people are living together in dorms, and have a lot of social contact, you have daycare, things kids are not going to be able to control there, their physical connections with other kids, young kids particularly. We have those opportunities for close contact that are probably more than we see in the summertime.”
Threlkeld said there are a lot of positive cases stemming from one group in particular.
”It still remains, the vast majority, 98 percent or so in men, and the vast majority of those are in men who’ve had sexual contact with other men,” the infectious disease specialist said.
”If you break down the data on the health department’s website, you see about 93 percent of those are African American males that are having the positive cases,” said Dr. John Cross, who’s President of the Mississippi State Medical Association.
Of the 45 cases reported in the Magnolia State, Cross, who’s also an internal medical physician in Jackson, said there’s one area in the state being hit the hardest.
”25 of those (cases) are in the metro area,” he said.
While the numbers are alarming, medical Doctors say there are tools to fight against this virus.
However, the challenging part is getting that information out to those who are at risk.
”We do have an anti-viral treatment called “TPoxx,” it’s available through the health department,” said Cross.
”If you know you’ve been exposed to someone with monkeypox, or you suspect that you can get the vaccine to get what we refer to as “post-exposure prevention,” Threlkeld explained. “That vaccine will work up to 10-14 days after that exposure to at least dampen the case you would get, and if you get it within 4-5 days after that exposure, it’s likely to prevent the exposure altogether.”
If someone suspects they’ve been infected or have close contact with someone who has monkeypox, MSDH has a hotline people can call.
The number is: 1-877-978-6453
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