ATLANTA — As monkeypox gains new prominence in the United States, Fulton County is working to keep the virus from spreading.
On Saturday, the Fulton County Board of Health hosted its first vaccine clinic for monkeypox. The board opened appointments earlier in the week and slots were filled within two hours, which made for a busy Saturday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 30 cases of monkeypox in the state of Georgia as of July 8; the state department of health has confirmed a majority of these cases. For perspective, health officials diagnosed the first patient in Georgia on June 6.
Dr. David Holland, the chief clinical officer of the Fulton County DOH explained the public does not need to panic but advised taking steps to protect themselves if they believe they're vulnerable to the disease.
"We do have an effective vaccine. Not a lot of it yet, but we want to get started vaccinating people so that we can arrest the spread," Holland said.
The clinic was limited to men who have had sex with other men and had two partners within the last 14 days. Holland explained the condition is not exclusive to the LGBTQIA+ communities, but there is still a slightly higher risk.
"It is not necessarily sexually transmitted. That just is a marker of risk. However, anybody can get it."
Holland explained people who live in the same household are also at risk of spreading the condition. He added Monkeypox does not spread as easily and currently does not seem airborne.
So far, people who have contracted the virus in Georgia are men. Symptoms of the illness include a blister rash. The CDC also lists fever, chills and fatigue as known symptoms, with people reporting muscle aches and headaches.
"The bottom line is that it is something that we need to take seriously," he said. "There are certain people that need to take it more seriously than others. And we are doing what we can to arrest the spread so that it doesn't get into the general population."
More information about Monkeypox can be found here.