Conn. (WTNH) — There are now a dozen cases of monkeypox in Connecticut, but top health officials are saying there is no reason to panic.
Monkeypox cases continue to rise in the state, reaching 12 total diagnoses in Connecticut, the Department of Public Health announced Friday.
The first monkeypox case was announced in Connecticut on July 5. While anyone can get and spread the virus, health officials said the current cases are primarily spreading through gay, bisexual, and other men who have had sex with men. Those who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners are at high risk.
“We shouldn’t be worried about it because it’s not something you can casually acquire just by walking near somebody,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare Chief Epidemiologist.
Since the state’s current case count is low, Connecticut has not received an allotment for a monkeypox vaccine at this time, though officials said doses are expected in the coming weeks. Vaccinations will be recommended for those who are in close contact with people with monkeypox, have been exposed to the virus, or have increased risk of being exposed to the virus.
DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, said monkeypox spreads through close, prolonged contact with another person who is infected.
“This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact,” Juthani said. “Residents who are concerned about fever, swollen glands, and a new rash, should contact their health care provider.”
The state is trying to raise awareness through the same agencies that helped those groups during the AIDS crisis of the 80s. Unlike then, there are treatments now.
“Some of them are experimental. Some of them are really used for other diseases, but have some activity against monkeypox,” Dr. Wu said.
Monkeypox diagnostic testing is available at LabCorp, Mayo Clinic, and Quest. Health officials hope to be able to run 10,000 tests a week in Connecticut.
“I don’t want the general public to be alarmed, but on the other hand, we do need to be aware,” Dr. Juthani said.