Monkeypox spreading across Alabama as case count grows; health officials getting calls from people seeking vaccine


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Alabama now has more than 15 cases of monkeypox virus and we know of at least one that has been in Jefferson County.

Jefferson County Health officials said anyone can get smallpox, but doctors believe it is spread mostly through close contact with an infected person.

The second case in Alabama was in Jefferson County, with the first in Mobile County. ADPH has not said where the other cases are from, but county health officials are already working to vaccinate those at high risk.

“We’re getting a lot of calls already from people who are concerned and want to get vaccinated,” said Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson.

With more than a dozen cases of monkeypox now in the state, Jefferson County health officials are working to protect those at high risk.

“We’re starting to get a vaccine, not much,” Wilson said. “We’re getting some vaccine, and now we have to use that vaccine to prioritize people who are in close contact with someone who has actually had it, or someone who we think is at very high risk.”

According to the World Health Organization, the majority of cases are in gay men and are encouraging reduced partners. Wilson said it spreads when people come into close contact with skin or bodily fluids.

“Very small, tiny glands deep in the skin,” Wilson said. “Almost like a pimple that then becomes a blister, very well rounded. Almost a perfect circle, usually the size of a green pea.

Alabama received about 200 doses of the monkeypox vaccine two weeks ago, so Wilson said they will ramp up vaccinations for everyone once other supplies are available statewide.

“We’re not ready to start vaccinating a lot of people at this point,” he said. “We want to, but we’re not ready because we just don’t have the supply yet.”

The CDC said there are nearly five thousand cases across the US and Dr. Wilson said if you think you’ve come into contact with someone infected, doctors here in the state have received instructions from ADPH on how to test you and then the state will begin contact tracing.

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