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Wake County has identified North Carolina's first confirmed cases of monkeypox in women.

This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (red) found within an infected cell (blue), cultured in the laboratory that was captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Md.
AP
/
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, via AP File
This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (red) found within an infected cell (blue), cultured in the laboratory that was captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Md.

Officials with Wake County Public Health say two women in the county have tested positive for the monkeypox virus. These are the first cases confirmed in women in North Carolina.

The development comes after the state's first pediatric case was identified in Mecklenburg county earlier this week.

"While this global outbreak appears to mostly affect men who have sex with other men, monkeypox is a public health concern for all of us,” said Wake County Preventative Health Director in a press release Thursday.

There are now 282 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the state. Men represent 99% of cases and women now make up 1%.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, nearly all of the confirmed cases have been in men who have sex with men, and their sexual networks.

Symptoms include a rash that can initially look like pimples or blisters. The CDC reports that additional symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)


NCDHHS says testing for the virus is widely available and vaccines are available for those who meet the state's eligibility requirements.

North Carolina saw its first confirmed monkeypox case on June 23.

Copyright 2022 North Carolina Public Radio. To see more, visit North Carolina Public Radio.

Sascha Cordner
Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things (hyperlink), a show that explores North Carolina through conversation. Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards. Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.