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10 new monkeypox cases confirmed in Massachusetts

The new cases diagnosed in the last seven days are all in adult men.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

Ten new cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Massachusetts, the state Department of Public Health announced Thursday. 

The new cases, which were all diagnosed between June 30 and July 6 in adult men, bring the total number of monkeypox cases in the commonwealth to 31. The state said it is working with the patients, local health officials, and health care providers to identify individuals who may have been in close contact with the men while they were infectious. 

On Thursday, the state launched its vaccination effort to curb the spread of the virus, after it became one of 10 states to receive the initial allocation of the JYNNEOS vaccine against monkeypox from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The 2,004 doses received by the state are being administered at four sites in eastern Massachusetts. But due to the limited supply of the vaccine, the doses are only being offered to those who either live or work in Massachusetts and are at the highest risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox.

That includes those who have had close contact to someone with the virus and those who have had multiple sexual partners in recent weeks in an area where the infection is known to be spreading. 

The first case of monkeypox in Massachusetts was reported May 18. That case and other initial reports of the illness in other parts of the country were associated with international travel, but recent cases are not, according to the state. 

“Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up a large proportion of the cases identified to date,” the state said Thursday. “However, the risk is not limited to the LGBTQ community, and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.”

Public health experts and activists have been stressing that sexual orientation does not change one’s susceptibility to monkeypox, hoping to combat misinformation about the illness.


Monkeypox doesn’t spread easily between people, but it can be transmitted once an individual develops symptoms, according to the Department of Public Health. The virus can be spread through direct contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or by touching items that have been contaminated. It can spread less commonly through respiratory droplets after “prolonged face-to-face contact.” But it is not spread in instances of casual contact, such as touching surfaces like doorknobs or walking by an infected individual. 

“In many of the recent cases, the locations of the rash lesions suggest transmission during sexual contact,” the state said Thursday.

Early symptoms of monkeypox include rash, fever, headache, sore throat, cough, and swollen lymph nodes. Rashes from the illness develop into lesions that start flat but become raised and filled with liquid. 

The state said to reduce the risk for monkeypox people should consider:

Avoiding large gatherings like raves and dance parties where you may have lots of close body contact with others

Asking any partner, especially new partners whose health status and recent travel history you are not familiar with, if they have any symptoms of monkeypox

Staying informed by reading information available on the DPH and CDC websites.


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