State health officials reported 18 new monkeypox cases on Thursday, the highest one-week count yet as the outbreak spreads across the country.
Meanwhile, the number of health care providers and locations offering monkeypox vaccination across the state is expanding as the feds deliver more vaccine doses.
The 18 new monkeypox cases were diagnosed in men within the past week, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It brings the total number of monkeypox cases in the state to 49 since the state’s first case was announced in mid-May. That first case was also the country’s first confirmed case.
There have been 1,053 reported cases of monkeypox virus in U.S. residents this year, according to the CDC. That’s a significant jump of 448 cases since last week.
No deaths have been reported related to this global outbreak, and patients generally recover fully in 2 to 4 weeks.
Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up a large proportion of the cases identified to date.
“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 said.
Transmission occurs through direct contact with body fluids and monkeypox sores, by touching items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or less commonly, through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
In many of the recent cases, the locations of the rash lesions suggest transmission during sexual contact.
DPH received its initial allocation of 2,004 doses of the monkeypox vaccine on July 5, and immediately distributed the vaccine to four health care providers that were seeing the highest volume of patients reporting exposure or likely exposure to monkeypox.
The number of health care providers and locations offering vaccination across the state is now expanding as federal allocation of the vaccine increases.
Vaccine appointments are available from: Fenway Health (Boston); Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Health Clinic (Boston); Boston Medical Center Infectious Disease Clinic (Boston); Outer Cape Cod Health Services (Provincetown); JRI Health (Framingham); Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (Lawrence); Health Innovations (Randolph); Baystate Medical Center Brightwood Health Center (Springfield); and Tapestry Health.
Due to extremely limited vax supply, the vax remains “severely limited” at this time, DPH said. Vaccination is available to those who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria, and who live or work in Massachusetts. Vaccine is prioritized for people at greatest risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox. Those who believe they qualify for a monkeypox vax should contact their healthcare provider.