Health officials warn kids are being exposed to Mpox

CHARLOTTE — Health officials are waving the red flag on a rise in Mpox cases in North Carolina.

Mpox hit our area in 2022 but thanks to vaccinations, there were barely any cases last year.

However, health officials said the disease is back this year and while children have not been infected, they have been exposed.

“Here, locally, and across the state, and really across the country, were starting to see an uptick in Mpox again,” said Dr. Raynard Washington, the director of Public Health in Mecklenburg County. “If you have a lesion or a rash or symptom of Mpox, you should get checked.”

There have been 16 confirmed cases of Mpox since the start of the year in Mecklenburg County.

At least 120 people have been exposed. Of those, 40 of them were children, officials said.

“I don’t want to create mass panic,” he said. “I don’t want every parent to say, ‘I’m not sending my kid to school because I’m worried about it, or they can’t get on the school bus,’ or whatever the case might be … ‘can’t go to church or the rec center.’ That’s not the message we’re trying to send.”

The message is tailored more for adults. The kids were exposed because an adult likely went to work at a school, preschool, or daycare and caught the disease.

“The individual who was infectious was around those individuals for an extended period of time,” Washington said.

Washington urges those who are living a high-risk lifestyle to get vaccinated.

Channel 9 spoke with a parent who was at Freedom Park and was not aware of the threat.

“It’s a little bit scary,” parent Mark Williams said. “A little scary to hear.”

Mark Williams, who is a father of two, agrees adults need to be more responsible.

“If you have something that is contagious, you should not go around spreading it,” Williams said.

Click here for more information from the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

VIDEO: Mpox: What you need to know

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