By Valencia Jones

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Health officials are reporting a suspected case of monkeypox here in Georgia, as the number of confirmed cases continues to increase worldwide. A local doctor weighed in on the virus and whether there is cause for concern.

News of a possible monkeypox case in this state, specifically in Metro Atlanta, has not been enough to scare many people just yet.

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“From what I have seen, I feel like it should be a concern, but I’m not particularly worried,” said Daniela Parra Del Riego Valencia, an Emory University student.

Others are concerned about a potential spread on top of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“People ignored COVID too, and we saw how that went, so I think if you’re just aware and you’re careful, we can hope for the best,” said Ana Castaneda, an Atlanta native who also attends Emory.

Atlanta Urgent Care owner Dr. Anthony Ferrara described the monkeypox virus.

“It’s an osis, which means it’s a virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans,” said Ferrara.

It’s a form of orthopoxvirus that requires very close contact with another person. As of Thursday afternoon, the CDC had not yet confirmed whether the Georgia case is, in fact, monkeypox, but on Wednesday, it reported 19 confirmed cases in the U.S.

Reports also show cases of the ailment in several countries that normally don’t have monkeypox activity.

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“There’s been 300 cases in the world outside of where it’s endemic, which is in Eastern and Western Africa,” Ferrara said, also indicating most cases involved international travel to Spain. “It’s been men who have had sex with other men in this country in one particular location at one particular spot.”

Ferrara said monkeypox symptoms are similar to what people have experienced with COVID.

“In the beginning, it gives you a headache, runny nose, body aches, a little bit of a fever,” he said, also describing how lesions and rashes develop all over the body within days.

He shared his opinion on whether there’s reason to worry about a major monkeypox outbreak.

“At this point, not at all,” he said. “The CDC sounds like they’re doing a good job. They’re isolating the cases, and they’re doing very good contact tracing.”

In terms of prevention, he had a couple of recommendations for the public.

“At this point, avoid close contact with anybody you suspect has it,” said Ferrara. He also says if you’re traveling abroad, avoid the endemic or hard-hit areas.

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For more information on monkeypox, click here.