NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Monkeypox cases are continuing to rise nationwide and in Tennessee just days after the Biden administration officially declared the virus as a public health emergency

The latest data provided by the Centers for Disease and Control shows there are currently 8,934 active monkeypox cases in the United States. 

As of Aug. 4, the Metro Public Health Department reported 17 of Tennessee’s 52 monkeypox cases reside in Davidson County. Last Tuesday, the CDC reported 32 monkeypox cases in Tennessee, which has since risen by 30 in just one week. 

With cases continuing to follow an uptrend nationwide, and in the Volunteer State, here are some things you should know about the disease. 

What are the symptoms?

While the disease is commonly known for the lesions it leaves on the skin, the CDC says signs of an infection may begin with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion before a rash or lesion develops. 

Officials say most of the cases associated with the 2022 outbreak report mild or no symptoms other than a rash, which is characterized by sores or bumps filled with fluid. 

How do you contract it? 

The CDC says the virus is mostly spread through close, intimate contact with someone who already has the virus. 

Close contact includes: 

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids 
  • Touching objects, fabrics and surfaces that have been used by someone with the virus 
  • Sexual contact with a person with monkeypox 

Health officials report that people who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. 

What are cases looking like in Tennessee

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, the majority of monkeypox cases in Tennessee are seen in men. The average age of those contracting the virus in Tennessee is 36, according to data. 

As of August 4, individuals of the white race make up 45% of the case count, and individuals of the African American race trail close behind making up 38% of the state’s case count. 

The CDC reports the virus typically lasts 2-4 weeks. 

Monkeypox vaccines in TN 

Health officials with the CDC say there are currently not enough vaccines to distribute nationwide without prioritization. 

The CDC says those who are most likely to categorize as eligible to receive the vaccine are:

  • People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox
  • People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox
  • Laboratory workers who perform testing for orthopoxviruses
  • Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with orthopoxviruses

States are allocated the vaccine in four phases. As of July 19, Tennessee is expected to receive 10,740 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine.  

According to the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, a total of 5,762 doses of the vaccine were shipped to Tennessee on August 8.