More than 10,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmef in the U.S., according the Centers for Disease Control, and as it spreads in New England, the Pride Center of Vermont wants to change some of the messaging around the virus.
Kell Arbor, the director of Health and Wellness at the Pride Center says anyone can be infected, not just members of LGBTQ+ community.
And Arbor says referring to monkeypox as M Pox will reduce the stigma of the virus and prevent discrimination.
Arbor says people want access to the vaccine and some are even leaving Vermont to get it.
“A lot of people are driving to Montreal,he said. “It’s easy to drive across the border and walk in and get it for free, but they are only getting one dose and now we are hearing word that folks need two.”
Dr. Rick Hildebrant of the Rutland Regional Medical Center says intimate contact is by far the predominant means of transmission.
“And yes there has absolutely been identified an increased number of cases in the LGBTQ population but that is not the only people who are getting this illness,”he said. “It can be caught by anyone.
Dr. Hildebrant says there is no need for concern – Vermont has one confirmed case and 379 cases have been reported throughput New England.
But, he said, people should be aware of the symptoms.
“A fever, muscle ache, fatigue, and then the characteristic rash of monkeypox,” he said. “It starts as a flat spot and becomes a raised spot, and that raised spot will be filled with a clear fluid, then a cloudy fluid, and often times it ruptures.”
While there is treatment and a vaccination, Dr. Hildebrant says what’s known about the virus evolving.