The first case of monkeypox was confirmed at the Mecklenburg jail after an inmate tested positive for the viral disease, the Sheriff’s office reported Tuesday.
The case was confirmed after a routine physical examination, according to a press release.
The news comes as county health officials have reported fewer cases of monkeypox, which is spread primarily through skin-to-skin contact.
According to state health officials, Mecklenburg has the highest number of confirmed cases of monkeypox. As of Tuesday, 142 of the state’s 382 cases were in Mecklenburg County.
Stay informed with news and events that impact Charlotte’s Black communities.
In an interview with WFAE, Mecklenburg Health Director Raynard Washington said the number of cases in Mecklenburg County has been slowly declining.
The sheriff’s office did not identify the affected inmate, nor did it say how or when the inmate may have contracted the virus.
In August, the detention center implemented a protocol, using best practices outlined by the Center for Disease Control, to prevent the spread of monkeypox, the sheriff’s office said in the statement.
Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden said his office is “continually evaluating our protocols and working diligently to keep everyone safe.”
Ninety-nine percent of the state’s confirmed monkeypox cases have been in males, according to a state website. Sixty-eight percent of those cases were confirmed in Black males. (Click here to see additional state data.)
On Tuesday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had expanded eligibility requirements for the monkeypox vaccine.
Starting Sept. 7, the vaccine is available to people who meet the following criteria:
- Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox; or
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who are sexually active; or
- People who have had sexual contact with gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals in the past 90 days; or
- People living with HIV, or taking medication to prevent HIV (PrEP), or who were diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days.
For the latest information on monkeypox in North Carolina, including where to get testing and vaccines, visit ncdhhs.gov/monkeypox.