GREAT FALLS — Doses of the monkeypox vaccine are available to be distributed in Great Falls and north-central Montana.
The Cascade City-County Health Department in Great Falls has received several vials of the vaccine from the state; each vial contains five doses.
The health department is serving as a regional hub, meaning it will distribute doses as needed throughout the region.
CCHD Communicable Disease Coordinator Sarah Cozino said the health department was chosen by the state to be a regional hub.
"We have to use 50 percent for our providers and things like that, and 50 percent for our pre- and post-exposure individuals, high-risk individuals,” said Cozino.
As of Friday, a few people have called and asked questions about the vaccine.
One person, Cozino said, was determined to be high-risk but because the vaccine doses have to be used up within eight hours of being opened, the CCHD was waiting to get a few more candidates before administering any doses.
As of Friday, there have been just two probable cases of monkeypox reported in Montana - one in Flathead County and one in Lake County. Neither person required hospitalization.
According to the CDC, there have been more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox across the U.S.
The illness typically lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment. At times, monkeypox can cause scars from the sores, the development of secondary infections (such as pneumonia), or other complications.
The virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact, but transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact.
Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should call their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. A person who is sick with monkeypox should isolate at home. If they have an active rash or other symptoms, they should be in a separate room or area from other family members and pets, when possible.
If you think you have monkeypox or have been exposed, contact your healthcare provider, or call the CCHD 406-454-6950.
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