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Local health official provides update on monkeypox in Monroe County

Monkeypox viruses, pathogen closeup, infectious zoonotic disease
The monkeypox virus.

Monroe County reported six confirmed cases of monkeypox as of Friday morning.

Officials said all of the patients contracted the virus while traveling, and the risk of infection still remains very low for county residents.

“This doesn't mean that it isn't here, nor that we won't have cases in the future,” said the county’s public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.

He added that unlike COVID-19, monkeypox is not an unknown.

“Scientists know what to do to prevent the spread of this disease,” he said.

This includes an existing vaccine. Monroe County was allocated 600 first doses of the two-dose series by the state, all of which have already been claimed.

“There is certainly more demand than there is capacity to give it right now, which is the unfortunate reality,” Mendoza said.

He said the county doesn’t know when more vaccines will become available, but when they arrive, there have plans in place to rapidly administer it.

In the meantime, Mendoza urged the public to remain vigilant in preventing the spread of the virus. He encouraged individuals in high-risk communities to take precautions when engaging in activities that involve vigorous skin-to-skin contact.

“It's important to remember that anyone can get monkeypox,” Mendoza said, “The good news is that all of us have the power to prevent it as well.”

For more information on the monkeypox virus, click here.

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.