SC health department reporting 23 monkeypox cases

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting more than 6,300 cases of Monkeypox virus across the US, including 23 in South Carolina.

Seven of those 23 are in the Lowcountry.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control provided an update on the outbreak Wednesday, reporting a much different situation here than in other parts of the country. New York, California and Illinois are reporting a combined 3,000 cases and have declared the outbreak a state of emergency.

The virus can cause flu-like symptoms, rashes and lesions. The first case in South Carolina appeared in Julyand with the number of cases now over 20, officials with DHEC want to remind the public that anyone can get the virus.

The risk, however, is still very low, they say.

It is spread mainly through skin-to-skin contact and less often through clothing or shared surfaces. DHEC officials say the nationwide trend of the virus spreading primarily among men who have sex with men is happening here in South Carolina as well.

Although some other states are staying more cautious, our health department says it’s not an emergency here.

“Contact with things in the environment, like doorknobs and railings, are not a risk at this time,” state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell. “It is unlikely that anyone can get it [Monkeypox] through routine community activities like going to grocery stores or restaurants or being in an elevator with someone.”

Bell says DHEC will require the maximum number of doses — just under 7,000 — of an FDA-approved monkeypox vaccine. They are currently offering it to high-risk groups in 14 clinics across the state

You can find vaccine and treatment resources on the DHEC website.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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