Augusta sees first monkeypox patient as Ga. cases keep rising
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Augusta’s first monkeypox has been reported, authorities confirmed Monday evening.
It seemed almost inevitable, with hundreds of cases in Atlanta and Georgia ranking No. 4 in the country for infections, but the city had been unscathed so far.
Augusta University Health confirmed the local case Monday.
Out of the 11,177 total confirmed monkeypox cases in the U.S., Georgia now has 851. Only New York (2,295), California (1,945) and Florida (1,085) have more confirmed cases according to the CDC. Those states rank No. 4, No. 1 and No. 3 in total population respectively.
This comes after monkeypox was declared a national public health emergency. Officials say the declaration will allow the government to release federal funding and resources to fight the virus.
High-risk people across the country are now scrambling to get a vaccine and there aren’t enough to go around. Some clinics have stopped offering the second recommended dose to ensure there are enough first doses.
An additional 150,000 doses of the two-shot vaccine are now expected in September to add on to the 1.1 million doses that are already available. But that’s still only a fraction of what’s needed.
To help get the vaccine to those who need it most, the Georgia Department of Public Health on Monday launched a centralized scheduling tool and helpline to locate and make appointments.
You can also call 888-457-0186.
The scheduling tool allows you to choose a first or second dose of the monkeypox vaccine from a dropdown menu. Because monkeypox vaccine supply remains limited, you will be asked to answer a series of questions that help DPH prioritize vaccine to individuals who may have been exposed to monkeypox. The questions follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for administering monkeypox vaccine.
The monkeypox virus can spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex.
While more than 90% of those affected in the current global outbreak are men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can be infected.
If you think you may have monkeypox, seek testing as soon as possible. To avoid potential spread of monkeypox to others, stay isolated until your rash has healed, and a new layer of skin has formed.
There are things you can do to protect yourself from getting monkeypox:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
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