HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Monkeypox is now a national emergency, according to a declaration from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) – but how are Alabama health officials responding to the virus?

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), there are currently 19 cases of monkeypox in the state. Cases are expected to climb as testing for the virus increases.

Several states, like California, Illinois, and New York, have opted to implement a state of emergency for monkeypox at the state level. However, a statement from Governor Kay Ivey’s office says that won’t happen in Alabama.

“For background purposes, Governor Ivey has no plans to declare a state of emergency for monkeypox,” a spokesperson for Governor Kay Ivey said on Monday.

What exactly happens when you contract monkeypox?

ADPH states the virus starts as a rash with flat spots that then become raised, turn into vesicles, and finally become pustular. Other symptoms include fever, chills, enlarged lymph nodes, aches, and headaches. The infection can last from two to four weeks.

The virus is transmitted through close contact or through broken skin, respiratory droplets, and mucus. This particular strain lists male-to-male sexual contact as a risk factor, according to health officials.

ADPH states that Alabama has received just over 1,200 doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine with an 4,600 expected. Due to limited numbers of vaccine, the CDC provided a list of those with the greatest risk of contracting monkeypox. Those include:

  • Those who have come into contact with someone positive for monkeypox
  • Those unaware that a sexual partner in the past two weeks have been diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Those with multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in an area with known monkeypox
  • Those whose jobs might expose them to monkeypox

To see ADPH’s monkeypox response plan or where you can get a vaccine, if necessary, click here.