Health expert dispels misconceptions surrounding monkeypox

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 3:53 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Monkeypox is continuing to spread across several parts of the country, including northwest Louisiana. However, health officials say there are misconceptions circulating about the virus.

Regional LDH Medical Director for Region 7, Martha Whyte, says the misunderstandings are about how the disease is spread and who is getting it.

According to health officials, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It isn’t spread through sexual activity, but rather the close physical contact. The disease is also not exclusively seen in homosexual or bisexual men, however, the majority of cases are currently seen in these individuals.

It is also being found in other demographics, including heterosexual women and children.

“It’s not a disease process that is primarily in men having sex with me. It’s just in this outbreak that they’re seeing that. Before this outbreak, it’s never been seen primarily in just that demographic as a large group,” said Whyte.

She says around 4,200 vaccines were given to the state by the Federal government, which were then distributed across each region. There are limits in place for who can get the vaccine.

“Our region received a small dose, like less than 100, Some of those are set aside for people who are contacts of cases. Other people who can get it right now are the high risk people, like men having sex with men. Especially if they’ve had anonymous sex or multiple partners,” said Whyte.

She says the more vaccines are used, the more they will receive from the state. This means it’s important to contact the Louisiana Department of Health and see if you qualify for a vaccine.

Keep in mind the symptoms for monkeypox include puss-filled blisters and bumps, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills and more.

Whyte says if you think you might have a rash that is monkeypox, make sure to keep it covered and have it looked at as soon as possible.

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