Massachusetts

Mass. Monkeypox Cases Up Almost 50% Amid Push for More Vaccine

The total number of cases across the state is now 31

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Another 10 cases of monkeypox were reported in Massachusetts Thursday, according to the state Department of Public Health.

That brings the total number of cases across the state to 31, nearly a 50% increase from last week.

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The state's first reported case was back in mid-May.

Massachusetts is one of 10 states with the highest number of monkeypox cases in the country, and because of that, the Commonwealth just received more than 2,000 doses of the vaccine. They were distributed Wednesday at four different health care providers.

So far, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have all confirmed a single case of monkeypox. No cases have been reported in Maine or Vermont yet.

Nationally, the U.S. is also trying to ramp up its vaccination efforts. The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to give out 144,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine on Monday to help curb the ongoing outbreak.

Massachusetts health officials continue to do contract tracing, and those with monkeypox are being asked to isolate until they are no longer contagious. No deaths have been associated with the outbreak currently spreading across the globe.

It's the busiest time of the year in one of the busiest spots on Cape Cod, and amid all the fun in Provincetown, there's growing worry about the spread of monkeypox and what it could mean for seasonal workers.

How do you catch monkeypox?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new monkeypox guidance earlier this month as the number of suspected cases nationwide boomed, marking America's largest-ever outbreak of monkeypox, which typically has been confined to other continents.

According to the CDC, monkeypox is spread when you come into contact with an animal or a person infected with the virus. Animal-to-person transmission occurs through broken skin, like from bites or scratches, or through direct contact with an infected animal’s blood, bodily fluids or pox lesions.

Monkeypox can spread from person to person, but it’s less common. Person-to-person spread occurs when you come in contact with the sores, scabs, respiratory droplets or oral fluids of an infected person usually through close, intimate situations like cuddling, kissing or sex.

You can also get monkeypox by coming into contact with recently contaminated materials like clothing, bedding and other linens used by an infected person or animal.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Human symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox, the CDC says. It presents itself as a flu-like illness accompanied by lymph-node swelling and rash on the face and body.

Monkeypox starts off with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Monkeypox also causes lymph nodes to swell, something that smallpox does not. The incubation period is usually 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.

The CDC is urging healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rashes consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have traveled or have specific risks for monkeypox. See more information from the travel notice here.

Vaccinations against monkeypox are underway in Massachusetts, but with the supply limited, there are eligibility requirements.

Where to get a monkeypox vaccine in Mass.

The four local clinics currently offering the monkeypox vaccine are the following, according to Massachusetts' monkeypox vaccine site:

Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine in Mass.?

The Department of Public Health lists the requirements for getting monkeypox vaccine as:

  • Known contacts identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments (this may include sexual partners, household contacts, and healthcare workers); as well as
  • Presumed contacts who meet the following criteria:
    • Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
    • Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox

More people may become eligible when more vaccine doses are shipped to Massachusetts, officials say.

What vaccine is available for monkeypox?

People who getting vaccinated will get two shots of the Jynneos vaccine, also known as Imvamune or Imvanex, health officials say. The second dose is given 28 days after the first shot, and people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the second dose.

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