BOSTON — Confirmed cases of monkeypox in Massachusetts jumped by more than 50 percent over the last week.
State health officials confirmed 18 new cases in the state, bringing the confirmed total number of cases to 49 since the first case was diagnosed on May 18.
The 18 cases announced Thursday had been diagnosed between July 7 and July 13, according to DPH.
“DPH is working with local health officials, the patients, and healthcare providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patients while they were infectious. Individuals with monkeypox are advised to isolate and avoid contact with others until they are no longer infectious,” according to a statement from the agency.
“Current data from CDC indicate that there have been 1,053 cases of monkeypox virus this year in US residents as of July 13,” said DPH. “While the virus does not spread easily between people, people can spread the infection once they develop symptoms.”
“Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men continue to make up a large proportion of the cases identified to date,” said DPH. “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.”
DPH says monkeypox can spread through:
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions. Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing while a person is infected.
- Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone. Sharing towels or unwashed clothing.
- Respiratory secretions through face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox)
DPH says monkeypox does not spread through:
- Casual conversations. Walking by someone with monkeypox in a grocery store, for instance. Touching items like doorknobs.
“Clinicians are asked to be alert to the possibility of monkeypox virus infection in individuals who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox,” said DPH. “Early symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes, but rash may be the first symptom.”
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