NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Earlier this week, New Mexico officials announced the state’s first probable case of monkeypox. Now, health officials say there is a handful of cases in New Mexico. “I think today New Mexico has four cases that we have confirmed in our state,” said Dr. David R. Scrase, cabinet secretary for the Health and Human Services Department.
Monkeypox is a relatively rare disease. Lately, it’s been spreading across the U.S. Acting Cabinet Secretary of the state’s department of health, Dr. David R. Scrase, says the state’s outbreak is likely to remain small.
“It’s very rare,” Scrase said in a press conference on Thursday. “There’s a very low probability we will have to mount an effort [against monkeypox] like we have with COVID-19.”
Ultimately, he predicts that few people will get sick from the virus. However, it’s still possible that it’ll spread further in New Mexico.
Scrase says it spreads through contact, but not through the air, like COVID-19. He says the best way to avoid getting sick is to wear a mask and avoid contact with sick individuals. It can also spread through items infected by fluids, such as bed sheets.
Recently, the state has received an FDA-approved vaccine to treat monkeypox. It’s not a brand-new vaccine. It’s been around for a few years now and treats both monkeypox and smallpox.
“It’s a two-vaccine series,” Scrase says. “We are being shipped 362 doses of the vaccine.”
That means 181 people could get the vaccine series with the current supply. If those vaccines are used, Scrase says they’d likely go to close contacts of those who have already acquired monkeypox. Scrase also says that New Mexico will get more doses in the coming month.
There’s also an antiviral treatment for monkeypox. Scrase says several of the people in New Mexico who currently have monkeypox have opted for treatment.