With the recent announcement that New York State leads the nation in positive infections from Monkeypox, medicinal officials in Erie County and New York State fear that it may spread and become a much more common disease like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and HIV.

That's one of the many reasons why medical officials across the country are rushing to ensure the monkeypox vaccine is more readily available in various areas around the country.

Our department will continue to investigate newly identified cases and offer to vaccinate any close contacts. This vaccination strategy will reduce the risk of community transmission, and have a protective benefit for people in our community at highest risk from current outbreaks.
-Dr. Gale Burstein, Director of Erie County Department of Health

That is coming to bear here in Western New York in a series of vaccine clinics that have been scheduled in Buffalo and the surrounding areas, along with other distribution efforts.

As medical professionals in New York State combat this viral outbreak, there are plenty of steps that we can take to make sure we remain safe and healthy.

According to the New York State Department of Health website, monkeypox is a virus that is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox, and is spread through close, physical contact between people. This can include:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox sores or rashes on an individual who has monkeypox.
  • Respiratory droplets or oral fluids from someone with monkeypox, particularly for those who have close contact with someone or are around them for a long period of time.
  • It can also be spread through contact with objects or fabrics (e.g., clothing, bedding, towels) that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

Officials state the best way to protect yourself from potential infection is to take some simple steps. According to the NYS Health Department, you should:

  • Ask your sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox-related symptoms.
  • If you are exposed or experience symptoms, make sure to reach out to a health care provider.
  • Follow reputable sources of health information, including NYSDOH, CDC, and your local county health department.
  • For more information and to stay updated, you can check the NYS Department of Health website here, and the Erie County Department of Health here.

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