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Monkeypox cases are on the rise in Maricopa County

The number of confirmed monkeypox cases in Maricopa County is on the rise. As of Monday, there were 24 confirmed cases and 14 probable. So what does this mean? 

We knew the number of cases would go up. And over the weekend the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency, which means getting more vaccine is critical. 

Will Humble is the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. 

"There's 100 million doses of this ACAM 2000 vaccine in the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile, which can work for monkeypox," he explained. "I don't think any states have asked for the ACAM 2000 vaccine because it has side effects."

And those risks, says Humble, may outweigh the benefits in the case of monkeypox. 

"Jynneos, which is the new vaccine, is in much shorter supply. It's very safe and effective, but only approved by the FDA for persons 18 years and up," Humble said. 

However Humble said that if more children become infected with monkeypox, "most pediatricians if they end up having to make decisions like that would decide to use the new vaccine, off label, rather than use the old vaccine, even under an FDA approval."

Humble also says there are very few clinicians in the state who have seen monkeypox either in their residency or practice, which means identifying it could be a challenge. "And so being able to identify the lesions in the first place, is going to be a challenge for doctors, and nurses. And the second thing is, once they see what they think might be a monkey pox lesion, then they have to know how do I collect the specimen? Where do I send it?"

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.