Monkeypox cases on the rise in Georgia, Troup County spared for now

Published 1:02 pm Thursday, July 21, 2022

While COVID cases in Georgia continue to see a downward trend, a new threat is beginning to rise in the form of Monkeypox.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 2,323 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the United States as of Thursday, 158 of which are in Georgia. There are currently 15,378 cases throughout the world.

The CDC’s information does not verify specifically where the cases in Georgia are.

Natalie Shelton with the Georgia Department of Public Health said there is no current evidence that there are Monkeypox cases in Troup County.

Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox, according to the CDC. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Despite its appearance, Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Prior to the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Previously, almost all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.

Dr. Kenneth Horlander, a physician with Emory in LaGrange, said symptoms are generally uncomfortable and those who are at risk for infection should monitor their health and take precautions when out in public.

“There is no specific treatment for the monkeypox virus in general, most treatments are supportive care for the symptoms. There are some things being tried for people at very high risk,” Horlander said.

Monkeypox is most apparent with a rash with raised nodules, Horlander said. Infected individuals may also experience flu-like symptoms.

“See a doctor ASAP if someone has these symptoms, and try to avoid spreading it by avoiding others as much as possible,” Horlander said.  “Doctor can takes samples to send for testing.  Stay home except to get medical care. Stay away from other people as much as possible. If going out of isolation then wear a well-fitting mask and cover the skin lesions.  Also, keep separated from animals in the home as they can spread it also. Notify anyone who was a recent close contact. After coming in contact it is possible to get sick for up to the next three weeks.”

As of Thursday, only Montana, Wyoming, Maine, Vermont and Mississippi have not reported any Monkeypox cases, according to the CDC.