The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has started reporting additional demographic data for Louisiana monkeypox patients on the LDH monkeypox dashboard. These demographic data show striking racial disparities: Nearly 60% of monkeypox cases in Louisiana have occurred among Black Louisianans, and about 27% have occurred among white Louisianans.

Among the cases included in today’s demographic analysis, approximately 95% have occurred in males.

Going forward, demographic data, including age, gender, race and ethnicity, among monkeypox patients will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.

New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the national monkeypox outbreak is disproportionately affecting minorities in America. The data, collected from 43 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico between May 17 and July 22 show that Black people make up 12% of the population but 26% of all monkeypox cases, while Hispanic people accounted for 19% of the population and 28% of all cases.

So, while those groups make up about a third of the U.S. population, they account for more than half of the cases.

"We felt it was critical to release this analysis so we could shine a light on these disparities and the need for sharpened attention." said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. "This requires an intentional, concerted effort. As our vaccine supply increases we will be able to offer protection to more at-risk individuals. This is a priority for the Department -- we must do all we can to protect our at-risk residents and communities."

With equity in mind, LDH has prioritized awareness-raising, targeted communications to at-risk groups, and partnerships with trusted local providers and community organizations to help identify and remove barriers, share critical information and organize vaccination events in trusted venues. The Department has developed and continues to update and build out its toolkit for partners, with communications assets in multiple languages; continues its advertising campaign on dating apps and social media platforms that serve LGBTQ people in Louisiana; and continues regular community partner calls and briefings.

While cases have been identified in six of Louisiana’s nine public health regions, the vast majority have been identified in southeast Louisiana. Nearly 1,000 people were vaccinated against monkeypox at initial community vaccination events LDH held at LGBTQ bars in New Orleans. LDH formally requested and received approval for technical assistance from CDC ahead of Southern Decadence in New Orleans; a team specializing in vaccines, communications, behavioral science, epidemiology and logistics has begun its remote deployment and is working closely with LDH and NOHD teams.

People most commonly get monkeypox through close and sustained skin-to-skin contact, including but not limited to intimate and sexual contact. The virus can also spread through contact with body fluids such as saliva or fluid from the lesions of infected individuals or by touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

JYNNEOS is a safe and effective monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine requires two doses, and it takes 14 days after getting the second dose of JYNNEOS to reach maximum protection. People interested in receiving the vaccine can visit the LDH monkeypox webpage for information, including a list of locations in Louisiana that have received vaccine. People can also call 211 to get their monkeypox questions answered.

Vaccinations to protect against Louisianans against monkeypox are now available for:

  • Gay, bisexual, other (cis or trans) men who have sex with men OR transgender women and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men AND
  • Have had intimate or sexual contact with multiple or anonymous partners in last 14 days or
  • Have had intimate or sexual contact with other men in a social or sexual venue in the last 14 days

OR Individuals (of any sex/gender identity) who have given or received money or other goods/services in exchange for sex in the last 14 days