Monkeypox outbreak response ramps up as Georgia counts more cases

Georgia public health officials are working to increase the number of monkeypox vaccine doses as cases rise in the state and across the U.S.

Demand for the monkeypox vaccine continues to outpace supply in Atlanta as cases rise here and nationwide.

On Thursday, federal health officials announced the Biden administration has declared monkeypox a national health emergency, which would free up more resources for the government to fight the outbreak.  

As of August 3, the United States reported 6,617 monkeypox cases around the country. States reporting the most cases are New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Florida and Georgia. 

Georgia is reporting 504 total confirmed cases, with men accounting for 500. The other four cases are confirmed in women, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Heath says.

Most of the male cases are among men who have sex with men.

The monkeypox virus mainly spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact, and Georgia health officials say they expect to see more cases in the coming weeks among the close contacts of already infected people —  regardless of gender or age. 

So far the state has distributed nearly 14,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine. 

The next allocation of more than 34,000 doses is expected to arrive in Georgia in stages over the next few weeks.

And advocates are urging state and federal officials to make additional vaccine doses available as soon as possible.

On Thursday, Grady Health System’s Doctor Dr Jonathan Colasanti sat down with WABE’s “All Things Considered” to break down vaccines, pharmaceutical treatments, how the disease spreads and what groups are considered the most high risk.

 Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.