By Jeff Haldiman





Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said her department is trying to allay fears residents may have about monkeypox. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls from people asking if we have the vaccine,” Campbell told the Cole County Commission this week. As of Friday there were 13 cases reported in Missouri by the Centers for Disease Control, but because there have been national news reports about the vaccine, people are getting concerned, Campbell said. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder; monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. Campbell said there are two types of vaccines available — one is for people who have been exposed to a confirmed case of monkeypox and one for those who have been exposed to a suspect case. “There’s no vaccine for the general public because there’s really not a lot of risk for the general public,” Campbell said. “Monkeypox can be spread through close, personal, skinto-skin contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids. It is reported most cases have been sexually transmitted with the significant risk category being men who have sex with men and have multiple partners.’ “It’s not like with COVID where the virus can be transmitted by coughing or similar means,” Campbell added. “Unfortunately, the reports on the national news about monkeypox seem to be getting people concerned, when they probably shoudn’t be.” Campbell said they have had people come to the department and asking if they had monkeypox vaccine when they’ve had no exposure to the virus. For more information about monkeypox, go to this address: monkeypox/