A 46-year-old Sussex County man and a 25-year-old Kent County man have become the second and third person in Delaware to be diagnosed with monkeypox.
Even so, the state Division of Public Health said the risk to the public remains low.
It has, however, started a hotline for people who think they may have been exposed or have symptoms to call.
The new cases of monkeypox are considered probable until Public Health receives confirming tests.
The first Delaware case of monkeypox, caused by a virus dubbed MPX , was found in a 46-year-old man in New Castle County and announced July 12.
None of the men reported that they had traveled, Public Health said.
The Sussex County man first reported symptoms July 18. The state is working with him to identify people he may have had contact with.
The Kent County man first reported symptoms on July 14. He has been told to self-isolate until his lesions have fallen off and new skin appears.
“The overall risk to the public is low and remains low,” said Dr. Rick Hong, interim director of the Division of Public Health. PH Interim Director Dr. Rick Hong.
He said MPX is transmitted through intimate contact with individuals who have rashes or flu-like symptoms.
“We urge people to educate themselves about this rare disease, including how it is spread, and to help prevent exposure,” Hong said.
The state will prioritize its limited supply of vaccine for people who have been exposed to MPX for post-exposure treatment, he said. It has to be given in two doses 28 days apart.
Starting Thursday, July 21, Public Health is running a hotline for individuals with specific concerns because of symptoms or possible exposure. The hotline number is 866-408-1899. It will operate Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There is no treatment for monkeypox, but antivirals can be prescribed.
Those who are at the highest risk of exposure to the virus include:
- People who have been identified as a contact of someone with MPX
- People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past two weeks was diagnosed with MPX
- People who had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in an area with known MPX
Until spring 2022, MPX cases were rare in the United States, the division said in a press release.
Today, there are more than 2,300 cases nationwide.
Monkeypox signs, symptoms
The symptoms of MPX are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus.
Most people who contract MPX will develop a rash, and some will develop flu-like symptoms beforehand.
The flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
If someone has flu-like symptoms, they usually will develop a rash one to four days later.
If you suspect you are experiencing any symptoms associated with MPX you should immediately:
- Contact your health care provider and discuss your symptoms and concerns.
- Self-isolate until all lesions have resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
- Avoid being intimate with others.
- Make a list of your close and intimate contacts in the last 21 days.
To prevent infection with MPX:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like MPX.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with MPX.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with MPX.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with MPX.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with MPX.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
To learn more about monkeypox, go here.
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