14 cases of monkeypox now in SC

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 3:58 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2022 at 9:30 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There are now 14 monkeypox cases across the Palmetto State, according to a consultant at the state health department.

Eight of those cases are in the Midlands, three cases are in the Upstate and three cases are located in the Lowcountry, according to Dr. Jonathan Knoche. He says he suspects that number will rise.

Knoche said the risk of contracting monkeypox for the general public remains very low, but men who have sex with men are at the highest risk. The virus is spread primarily from prolonged very close skin-to-skin contact.

“We’ve been working with that community in South Carolina through our partners to provide education about protecting themselves; thinking about their partners, being mindful if they’re meeting up with somebody new to ask them if they’ve been around somebody that might have had monkeypox or if they’ve noticed any rashes, checking partners for rashes, staying in contact with people so that if they do become ill they can notify them,” Knoche said.

This week, DHEC has started providing vaccines to at-risk groups. There are two groups getting vaccines in the state, close contacts of a confirmed case and men who have sex with men. Right now, there are about 1500 doses in South Carolina, and there are about three clinics per region that are offering vaccine appointments to the highest risk group.

“This is not something that’s generally impacting the entire population at this point so we don’t want to have people calling for appointments that don’t need them,” Knoche said. “So, I think sometimes making sure that we’re providing the message to the group that needs to hear it most can be a challenge, and we’re working with our partners to be able to do that.”

Knoche said the best way to get ahead of it is for at-risk people to practice safe habits and get vaccinated.

If you want to make a monkeypox vaccine appointment, you can call DHEC’s Care Line at 855-4-SCDHEC.

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