Washington, D.C., has the highest number of monkeypox cases per capita in the country, health officials said Monday.
There have been 122 cases of the virus reported in the past two months in D.C., which is about one case per 6,500 residents, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Second in line behind D.C. is New York, which has one case per 40,000 residents. Then, Illinois has one case for every 73,000 residents and California has one case per 148,000 residents.
"We are specifically working with reaching out to members of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically gay and bisexual men, because those are the communities most affected by the virus at this moment," Bowser said.
"Anyone can contract monkeypox, and this is important that we do not create stigma at this time and that we encourage individuals to be on the lookout for symptoms," Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, the director of DC Health, said.
Newsbitt said symptoms can include flu-like symptoms followed by a rash.
There’s no treatment specifically for monkeypox, but doctors are using medicine for smallpox to help clear up the rash.
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"We’ve been able to get that out to individuals who are diagnosed. They're doing rather well with the treatment," Nesbitt said.
DC Health said there are monkeypox vaccines available in a two-dose regimen. So far, the health department has distributed about 2,600 first doses. It received about 7,000 doses last week and officials said they expect to receive another 4,000 from the federal government in the coming weeks.
"We have seen overwhelming interest in the vaccine," Nesbitt said. "We’re working very quickly to get those doses out to our public."
Vaccines are open to District residents who’ve had close contact with a confirmed case of monkeypox. Also eligible are men and transgender women who have sex with men and sex workers and staff at establishments where sexual activity happens.
D.C. officials say all residents can pre-register for a vaccine even if they aren’t eligible yet. That way, they’ll be in line if and when eligibility opens up.