RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – The Virginia Department of Health is now reporting 213 cases of monkeypox throughout the Commonwealth. The central region has 17 reported cases.
There are still many unknowns about monkeypox. Some people are worried about contracting the virus and don’t know if they are more at risk than others.
The Richmond-Henrico Health District wants to clear up some myths about the disease to put people at ease.
Does the childhood smallpox vaccine protect you from monkeypox?
RHHD says it can provide some level of protection, but probably not enough.
“I don’t think we can be sure that getting vaccinated long ago for smallpox when you were a child will provide adequate protection now, so we advise people who had the smallpox vaccine as a child, if they are at risk, let’s move forward and get vaccinated”, said Dr. Melissa Viray, Deputy Director for the Richmond-Henrico Health District.
Is monkeypox considered a sexually transmitted disease or an STI?
The answer? No. While monkeypox is spread through sexual contact, it is not transmitted like other STDs or STIs.
“We don’t have any data to suggest that it was transmitted through semen or anything like that. It’s just the close contact you see during intercourse,” Viray explained.
Is everyone at the same risk of infection?
No. Right now, the vast majority of cases have involved men who have sex with other men, have multiple sexual partners, have sex anonymously, or don’t use protection.
“Right now, we’re seeing streaming in a certain group of people. That’s not to say that people who aren’t in that group aren’t at risk at all, but that’s not what we’re seeing on the air right now,” Viray said.
Additional information about monkeypox can be found at the Virginia Department of Health Web page.
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