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NC Division of Public Health
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Diseases & Topics

Monkeypox in North Carolina
Number of Cases
Data as of August 8, 2022, at 2:00 PM
(This information is updated Monday – Friday)

Monkeypox in North Carolina

North Carolina’s first case was identified on June 23, 2022. Nearly all monkeypox cases in North Carolina have been in men who have sex with men, consistent with findings from other jurisdictions. NC DHHS is working with local health departments and community partners to identify and respond to every case of monkeypox.

Click here for current case summary and demographics

Monkeypox virus can be spread person-to-person through infected body fluids (including saliva and lesion fluid), items that have been in contact with infected fluids or lesion crusts, and respiratory droplets. The incubation period is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days. People with monkeypox are infectious from the start of symptoms (before the rash forms) until the lesions heal and new skin forms underneath scabs and the scabs have all fallen off.

Monkeypox Testing

Testing is widely available and encouraged if you had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox, or have symptoms of monkey pox including unexplained bumps, sores, blisters, or pimples that look like monkeypox.  There is no shortage of testing supplies, and people with symptoms of monkeypox should go to their health care provider or a or local health department to get tested. Samples must be collected by a health care professional, and they must follow a specific procedure to collect a good sample for testing. NCDHHS recommends providers test any patient with a suspicious lesion or sore.

Monkeypox Vaccinations

Vaccines are available to protect against monkeypox or to reduce disease severity. NC DHHS has expanded the vaccine eligibility criteria to include:

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

As of 8/2/2022, 10,148 doses of Jynneos have arrived in NC, with an additional 8,300 doses of Jynneos allocated to NC to order over the next several weeks. Click here for a list of vaccine locations

General information on Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by an orthopox virus typically found in West and Central Africa. As such, most cases in the US, prior to 2022, have been travel associated. A previous outbreak in 2003 associated with pet rodents did result in local transmission in the US.

The disease typically begins with a prodrome of fever, exhaustion, headache, and sometimes sore throat and cough. Lymph nodes may swell in the neck, armpits, or groin, on one or both sides of the body. Shortly after the prodrome symptoms, a rash appears. In some of the recent cases, the first symptom was a rash. The rash goes through four stages—flat (macular), to raised (papular), to fluid-filled (vesicular), to pus filled (pustular) and may umbilicate (the center may open or sink in)—before scabbing over and resolving. This happens over a period of 2-3 weeks. Lesions may be all over the body, including the palms, feet, and head, or located only on specific body parts such as the genitals or around the buttocks.  The rash may be painful and during healing stages may itch.

Monkeypox Resources

For Providers, Community Partners, and Local Health Departments (LHDs)

For the Public

Brief History of Monkeypox

"Monkeypox" was so named because it was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys. It is most often found in small mammals such as rodents, including rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits and prairie dogs. The first outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. was reported in 2003 among people who got sick after coming in contact with infected pet prairie dogs. Historically, most cases of monkeypox occurred after a person came into contact with an infected wild animal or animal product.