The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reported that it received the initial allocation of more than 200 doses of vaccine for monkeypox virus infection on Thursday. Additional doses are expected to be delivered soon.

To help prevent illness from the virus, ADPH will offer the vaccine and monitor for early signs of illness in eligible persons. Due to the limited supply of the vaccine at this time, post-exposure prophylaxis will only be made available to those who are known to have been exposed within the previous 14 days to a person with monkeypox or to a person attending an event at a venue where monkeypox virus was known to have been transmitted.

ADPH reports cases of monkeypox to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the case count is available on the CDC webpage.

As part of the investigative process, ADPH interviews the person with monkeypox, monitors contacts and provides information regarding vaccine or treatment, as indicated.

The first cases of monkeypox in Alabama were recently diagnosed in Mobile and Jefferson County. There are four cases now that have been diagnosed in Alabama. New York leads the nation with 900.

Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person. But close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact appears to be the primary transmission mode in the current global outbreak. It is possible that contact with materials used by infected persons, such as clothing and linens, can be a way to contract the virus. The virus typically enters the body through broken skin, respiratory droplets, or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).

Since most of the monkeypox cases in the current outbreak appear to be among gay men in the current global outbreak, refraining from intimate relations with gay men or people who have sex with gay men would be a sensible precaution.

Symptoms in this most current outbreak have not been as typical as in previous cases of monkeypox. Instead, persons will have a rash that starts out as flat spots, followed by raised spots, then deep-seated vesicles have a tiny spot in the middle of the vesicle and may be itchy or painful.

Steps to help prevent monkeypox include the following:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has monkeypox.

  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, clothing, or towels of a person who has monkeypox.

  • Have persons with monkeypox isolated away from others.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after contact with ill people who have monkeypox.

  • Avoid contact with animals that could have the virus (such as animals that are sick or that have been found dead).

For more information about monkeypox, visit the ADPH monkeypox webpage, or the CDC monkeypox webpage.

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