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Monkeypox in Georgia disproportionately affecting Black men, data shows

New statistics show the disparity in reported cases.

ATLANTA — As data regarding monkeypox becomes clearer each day, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) shows statistics that give insight into who the virus impacts the most.

Recent numbers prove that monkeypox cases are currently affecting Black men at a higher rate than any other race in Georgia, according to DPH numbers updated on August 8.

  • 625 positive cases have been identified through the Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL) and commercial testing, of those:
    • Men: 619 (99%)
    • Women: 6 (1%)

Health officials said the ages range from 18 to 66. 

  • Race (available on 466 positive cases)
    • Black or African American: 382 (82%)
    • White: 65 (14%)
    • Asian: 3 (1%)
    • Other: 9 (3%)

The DPH is coordinating with epidemiology staff and public health districts regarding vaccine efforts to ensure that all eligible individuals are able to receive one.

Current vaccine priorities are designated by DPH into three categories labeled postexposure, expanded postexposure and pre-exposure prevention. Health officials have laid out the following guidelines for each:

  • Postexposure prevention (PEP):
    • For high-risk exposure to a confirmed monkeypox case
    • Most beneficial when received within four days of exposure, but some may benefit up to 14 days following exposure
    • If given within 4 to 14 days after exposure, vaccination may reduce symptoms of virus, but may not prevent it
  • Expanded postexposure prevention (PEP++):
    • For people with certain risk factors that might make them likely to have had high-risk exposure to monkeypox
    • Guidelines used in response to outbreaks where spread is occurring
  • Pre-exposure prevention (PreP):
    • For people with certain jobs that may place them at high risk for potential exposure, such as laboratory staff working with monkeypox specimens
    • Due to limited vaccine supply, vaccines are being currently prioritized for PEP and PEP++ individuals

Health officials said people who receive Jynneos, the FDA-approved vaccine, are considered to reach maximum immunity 14 days after their second dose, approximately six weeks following the first dose.

Georgia is currently fourth in the nation for monkeypox cases with 749, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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