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Mecklenburg County Detention Center confirms first monkeypox case

Mecklenburg County officials implemented a protocol in August to prevent the spread of monkeypox in the detention center.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An inmate at the Mecklenburg County jail has contracted monkeypox and is the first person at the facility to be confirmed with the disease.

On Tuesday, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office announced an inmate was confirmed to have monkeypox during a health examination that's performed on all inmates at the jail. 

A monkeypox protocol was implemented in early August as an effort to mitigate the spread of the disease. The sheriff's office says isolation protocols have been effective at stopping the spread of monkeypox.

“We are continually evaluating our protocols and working diligently to keep everyone safe," Gary McFadden, Mecklenburg County Sheriff, said. “MCSO will continue to be cautious and deliberate to keep everyone in our custody healthy and safe.”

No information was given on the inmate or their condition. It is unknown how they contracted the disease at this time.

RELATED: Yes, there has been a confirmed monkeypox death in the U.S.

North Carolina expanded the eligibility requirements for monkeypox vaccine recipients on Tuesday. 

The vaccine will now be available to anyone who meets 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.

Officials said the expanded eligibility is based on case data and current spread to protect more people in higher-risk categories. While anyone can get monkeypox, nearly all of North Carolina’s cases are still in gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men. Nationally, the CDC reports that 78.9% of individuals report man-to-man sexual contact.

As of Aug. 31, 11,420 vaccine doses have been administered across the state, and more doses are expected in the coming weeks. NCDHHS is working with all levels of government together in partnership with community organizations to improve disparities in monkeypox cases and vaccinations. 

Mecklenburg Public Health still classifies monkeypox risk to the general public as "low."

RELATED: Health officials expand monkeypox vaccine eligibility in SC

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