Central Louisiana Monkeypox update: Vaccines, treatment available

CENTRAL LOUISIANA. (KALB) – As of August 11, 2022, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control have reported 31,799 cases of Monkeypox worldwide.

According to the CDC, there have been 10,768 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the United States and 97 confirmed cases in Louisiana. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, there have been 0 confirmed cases in Central Louisiana, but experts said it is just a matter of time before cases present themselves.

“We have no people that have been identified in this region,” said Dr. Holcombe, Director of the Region Six Office of Public Health. “Although we have diagnosed cases that live in different regions, so it’s surely here.”

Although Monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease, the virus spreads mostly through close intimate contact with an infected person. Currently, the virus is most prevalent in men who have sex with men, but anyone can contract the virus no matter their sexual orientation.

“This disease first reared its head in the LGBTQ community, but we do want people to understand that this is not an LGBTQ disease,” said Michael Parham, R.N. and Nursing Coordinator for the Central Louisiana Aids Support Services (CLASS). “It is possible for anyone to pick this virus up from skin to skin contact, casual contact from anyone else.”

The good news is that there is a vaccine to prevent Monkeypox available for free in Rapides Parish for those who qualify at the Office of Public Health and at CLASS. The vaccine is administered in two doses and given 28 days apart. Health officials are urging those in high-risk categories to get vaccinated and help stop the spread of the virus.

“It’s very effective,” said Dr. Holcombe. “So, if you are in that stage where you’ve been exposed but you’re not having an eruption, you will benefit from the vaccine as an exposed person, and people who are high risk for exposure need to be vaccinated so they don’t get the disease. So, that’s what we are trying to do now is get anybody who may be in that community that might be exposed or be affiliated in any way, we want those folks to get vaccinated here or through CLASS. We’re the only providers here, so we need people to come in and get vaccinated so we can nip this thing in the bud.”

To learn more about Monkeypox, CLICK HERE.

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