Maricopa County working to slow monkeypox spread by offering testing, vaccines

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says that it has received a limited amount of...
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says that it has received a limited amount of additional monkeypox vaccine doses from the federal government.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 8:58 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says that it has received a limited amount of additional monkeypox vaccine doses from the federal government and is, so far, prioritizing the vaccines for those most at risk in an effort to slow the spread. As of this week, there are 79 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in Maricopa County.

“In this outbreak we know that some people are at higher risk of getting monkeypox than others, just like some groups are hit harder by diseases like cardiovascular disease or asthma,” said Dr. Nick Staab, a medical epidemiologist at MCDPH. “For household and social contacts of people who have gotten monkeypox and others at increased risk, we want to make sure they get the protection they need so we can slow the spread at this early stage.”

Anyone interested in being vaccinated is asked to reach out to MCDPH so they can be alerted when a vaccine is available to them. You can check your eligibility here. Researchers say that the virus is spread by prolonged skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected and that it can infect anyone. Prevention measures are very similar to any other kind of virus and are as follows:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face, after using the restroom, and after touching other people.
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a new rash
  • Stay home if you’re sick with symptoms of monkeypox or other illnesses

Symptoms to look out for are as follows:

  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

In most cases, between one to three days after fever starts, a rash begins, typically starting on the face before spreading. The rash may start as small, flat, round discolorations that are raised and fluid-filled with either pus or clear liquid. The spots carry the virus and eventually scab over. When the scabs fall off, the area is no longer infectious. The spots or lesions can show up anywhere on the skin, genitals, or in the mouth. MCDPH is encouraging doctors to offer monkeypox testing for patients who have symptoms or a new, suspicious rash. In general, most patients fully recover.

“We have the tools we need to contain spread,” added Dr. Staab. “Vaccines are available to those who are at higher risk of exposure, testing is available through commercial labs, and treatment is available for people who are infected and at higher risk of severe illness.” Now that a federal emergency has been declared, there may be more vaccine doses and other resources that will be available in the coming weeks and months.

The next upcoming vaccine clinic that will be offered to those who qualify and make appointments will be held on Monday, Aug. 8.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Time: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Location: MCDPH Immunization Clinic at 1645 E. Roosevelt, Phoenix