ATLANTA — As monkeypox continues to spread throughout the nation, Georgia public health officials are learning more about this latest outbreak and who it is infecting.
In Tuesday's board of health meeting, medical professionals said a majority of the males who are infected are Black. Around 35 percent of patients are white.
A data breakdown from Georgia's Department of Public Health shows the median age of monkeypox patients is 33, with ages ranging from 23 to 57 years old. Almost all of the cases are in the metro Atlanta area.
Though initial cases were reported in patients who had traveled, more recently, that has not been the trend. DPH officials have identified the main risk factor to be close physical contact with someone who had lesions.
Symptoms of the illness include a blister rash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also lists fever, chills and fatigue as known symptoms, with people reporting muscle aches and headaches.
However, DPH leaders said the symptoms have varied in patients in the state. They noted during their meeting that clinical differences include no fever and few lesions. When patients do suffer from lesions, they often begin in the genital region and progress rapidly.
Cases in the United States also seem to come with co-infections, clinicians said. They are often common sexually transmitted infections, or STIs like chlamydia, syphilis and herpes.
DPH's approach to the outbreak is to identify and confirm cases, ask the patient to isolate, utilize contact tracing, and utilize vaccine opportunities for "high-risk contacts and others exposed," officials said. This is also on top of educating the medical community, including clinicians and doctors, about what DPH learns about confirmed cases.
As Georgia's monkeypox numbers begin to climb, Fulton County hosted its first vaccination clinic to combat the spread of the virus.
To learn more about monkeypox in Georgia, visit DPH's resource page.