Health

Health officials confirm 42 new cases of monkeypox in Mass.

157 cases have been reported in the Commonwealth this year. 

42 new cases of monkeypox were confirmed Thursday. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed 42 new cases of monkeypox Thursday, bringing the Commonwealth’s total to 157 cases this year. 

The Department of Public Health said that this week’s cases were all within adult men diagnosed between July 28 and August 3. Officials are working to identify close contacts with the infected individuals.

The statement also announced that the number of healthcare providers and locations offering vaccination across Massachusetts has expanded to 14. As of Wednesday, 5,875 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts since the state received its first shipment in July.

The vaccine is still in short supply, with vaccination available to Massachusetts residents who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria and are at the greatest risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox.

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7,102 cases of monkeypox have been accounted for in the United States as of Thursday. The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency Thursday, while the World Health Organization declared the global monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on July 23. Both declarations aim to raise awareness of the illness and speed up additional funding and treatment.

Gay and bisexual men continue to make up a significant proportion of the cases, the DPH said, noting that the risk is not limited to men or to the LGBTQ+ community. An infectious disease doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital urged parents and guardians Tuesday to be aware of monkeypox transmission to limit risk to children. 

The DPH said that the virus “does not spread easily between people,” but can still be transmitted by symptomatic individuals. Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions, but can also spread through fabric such as sheets or towels, or respiratory droplets. The department said that but it does not spread through brief conversations or interactions with someone who has tested positive.

The DPH also issued advice to prevent being infected with the virus, including staying away from “large gatherings like raves and dance parties where you may have lots of close body contact with others,” and asking partners if they have monkeypox symptoms.

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For those who believe they may have the disease, the CDC advises to wear a mask, cover any rash or lesions when around others, and contact a healthcare provider. For more information on monkeypox and how it spreads, visit www.mass.gov/monkeypox and www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox.

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