GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The most recent case numbers from the state department of health and human services shows 131 active cases of monkeypox in North Carolina as of Thursday.

North Carolina’s first case was identified on June 23 of this year, and nearly all cases in the state have been found in men who have sex with other men, the largest population being affected.

As of Wednesday, the NCDHHS reported 122 cases of monkeypox statewide. That number jumped to 131 cases as of Thursday.

“In the last week, we’ve seen cases nearly double in monkeypox, of course overall they remain small,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley. “What makes this disease particularly important is that we are seeing it spread in more than 70 counties outside of where it usually spreads, which is why the WHO decided that we really needed to focus in on it and why the White House established their lead for the monkeypox response.

Since August 2, over 10,000 doses of Jynneos, the vaccine for monkeypox, have arrived in our state, with an additional 8,300 scheduled to be allocated over the next several weeks.

Health officials are still working to get targeted populations vaccinated against the virus, but it’s important for the entire population to take precautions.

US monkeypox cases top 10,000

“We often see viruses impact the most vulnerable first, or the hardest, you know, with COVID, we saw older individuals in long term care facilities really, really bear the brunt of that disease right out of the gate. You know where it is today, where it starts is not necessarily where it stays. And it’s important that we not associate this virus with any particular community, but that we all do our part to control the spread that’ll help that community and help all of us.”

Kody Kinsley, NCDHHS Secretary of Health and Human Services

Those currently eligible to receive a Monkeypox vaccination include the following:

  • Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals who report any of the following in the last 90 days:
    • Having multiple sexual partners or anonymous sex
    • Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
    • Receiving medications to prevent HIV infection (PrEP)

Vaccines are available in limited supply and are at no cost to the individual.

Secretary Kinsley says there are 3 things we should all know when it comes to Monkeypox, “First off, everyone should be on the lookout for a new or unexplained rash. This spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact, it’s not likely to spread with a casual handshake or bumping into someone or sharing space with someone. It spreads very differently from a respiratory illness. But if you see an unexplained rash, we tell you to go talk to your doctor, your health care provider or to reach out to the local health department.”

#2, “The second thing that everyone can do, and this is really a message to my health care providers, is to test readily, there is no shortage of tests, so if you are seeing a suspicious lesion, or sore on one of your patients, test it so we can keep on track of the cases, and we can understand how this is spreading.”

#3, “The third big thing that we want to make sure folks know is that if you’re in our high-risk population, right now we’re seeing it in men who have sex with men, nearly all of our cases, 70% of our cases are black men, you’re in our high risk population, go get vaccinated.”

Happening Thursday, Onslow County Health Department will host a monkeypox vaccine clinic at Miller Motte College from 5-6:30 pm. Vaccine sign-up is required. You can email info@onslowcountylgbtq.com to register.

For additional testing locations, you can find that at the NCDHHS website for a clinic near you.