Health officials announce first monkeypox case in Georgia woman
Following the announcement by the World Health Organization that declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, the infectious disease has now been diagnosed in a woman in Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) made the announcement last week that the first woman in the state had been identified, saying anyone who comes in close contact with someone ill with monkeypox can contract the virus.
As of last week, 3,487 confirmed cases had been tracked in the U.S. The DPH had confirmed 268 monkeypox cases in the state, all among men, prior to the woman being diagnosed. She reported contact with a man who was diagnosed with monkeypox.
Health officials said the Georgia woman is not the first woman in the U.S. with monkeypox, but the exact number of cases among women was not readily available.
Because anyone can be affected by the virus, cases are expected to continue to climb as the outbreak grows and vaccines continue to be in extremely limited supply.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Georgia has the fifth-highest number of monkeypox cases in the country. Georgia’s first-ever case was announced in early June. While several of the cases here were associated with international travel, more recent cases have had no travel history, according to DPH.
The Biden administration said it plans to name a White House coordinator to oversee the response as officials attempt to keep the virus from becoming entrenched in the United States.
The monkeypox vaccine can help prevent illness, and also reduce the severity of the disease for those already infected. With the number of monkeypox cases continuing to climb in Georgia, vaccines against the infectious disease have started to be more widely administered at local health departments, however, demand has outweighed supply.
A total of 13,876 doses have been allocated for the state by the federal government. So far, Georgia has received approximately 6,000 doses of its allocation, which is enough for 3,000 people to receive the two-dose series.
As production of the vaccine ramps up, Georgia can expect to get additional allocations of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government.
The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been in close contact with someone with the virus or if they suspect they may have been exposed to the virus, such as having multiple sex partners in an area with known monkeypox cases.
The CDC said more than 99% of people who get monkeypox are likely to survive, however, people with weakened immune systems, children under 8, people with a history of eczema, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get seriously ill or die.