Five new cases of monkeypox have been identified in Delaware.
To date, there have been 11 cases identified in the state.
The new cases include:
- 23-year-old male in Sussex County
- 57-year-old male in Sussex County
- 28-year-old male in New Castle County
- 34-year-old male in New Castle County
- 37-year-old male in New Castle County
All cases are unrelated to the others.
The 23, 37 and 57-year-olds all reported intimate contact with an individual confirmed to be positive for monkeypox.
The 34-year-old had recent intimate contact with another person, but the person was not known to have monkeypox.
No contact information is known for the 28-year-old.
None of the individuals reported travel.
Currently, there is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but antivirals may be prescribed.
Delaware expands access to monkeypox vaccine
Beginning Monday, Delaware will expand access to the vaccine used for monkeypox to individuals who are living with HIV, as well as those receiving pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV.
Individuals living with HIV or receiving HIV PrEP should first contact their medical provider or PrEP treatment center to ask if they are offering the vaccine. If the provider is not, the person may contact the Division of Public Health (DPH) Hotline at 866-408-1899 to schedule an appointment with a DPH clinic.
Walk-ins for vaccination will not be accepted.
Vaccinations at DPH clinics will continue to be prioritized for the following individuals at highest risk:
- Persons known or presumed to be exposed to someone with monkeypox in the last 14 days.
- Certain men who have sex with men and who have had multiple sex partners within the past 14 days.
As a result, appointments may need to be scheduled a few days out.
Under a new directive from the federal government, states are authorized to stretch their vaccine supplies by administering one-fifth doses via a different injection method. Those doses are injected just under the skin rather than into the muscle.
Delays in the rollout are due to the need to support training in the alternate administration method and obtain necessary supplies.
Beginning Aug. 22, individuals in the following higher risk categories will have access to the vaccine:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners.
- Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men.
- Sex workers of any sexual orientation and gender.
- Staff of any sexual orientation and gender at establishments where sexual activity occurs, such as bathhouses, saunas or sex clubs.
Individuals should be aware that the vaccine — a two-dose series given 28 days apart — is not considered effective until two weeks after the second dose.
Those at higher risk should continue to use preventive measures and reduce engaging in any high-risk behaviors until that time.
While the monkeypox vaccine will be expanding, not everyone needs the vaccine. Unlike with COVID-19, the spread is primarily through direct contact with an infected person and not airborne transmission. Those engaging in behaviors, including intimate contact with multiple partners are at higher risk than the general public.
There are things that each person in the general public can do to protect themselves regardless s of their ability to access the vaccine, such as limiting direct contact with anyone with a concerning rash, limiting the number of intimate partners, talking openly with intimate contacts about recent behaviors, and not sharing bedding, towels and eating or drinking utensils with anyone who does.
The vaccine, JYENNOS, used to prevent monkeypox, is fully FDA approved for use against smallpox. However, if you received a previous smallpox vaccine more than three years ago, it may not provide protection now. During the 2003 outbreak and current outbreaks, people who have been infected with monkeypox had previously been vaccinated against smallpox decades prior.
Most people with monkeypox do not require hospitalization and may isolate at home.
Monkeypox spreads between people through direct contact with an infectious rash, body fluids, or by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.
The transmission of the monkeypox virus is possible from the onset of the first symptoms until the scabs have separated and the skin has fully healed.
As fall sports practices begin, individuals who participate in sports should practice preventive measures whenever possible. This includes laundering uniforms after each game or practice, seeking advice from their primary care provider concerning rashes, sanitizing team spaces when they are not in use, not sharing sweat towels, water bottles, mouth guards or other gear, and refraining from leaving unused personal gear laying around.
Organizations should consider separate seating during games from fans for players and players not playing should avoid sharing benches with fans.
Isolated seating will reduce close contact with possible rashes from fans to players.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of monkeypox 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 monkeypox 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.
DPH launched a hotline for individuals with questions or concerns about monkeypox. The hotline number is 866-408-1899 and is operational Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Questions may also be emailed to [email protected].
Both the hotline number and email address share staff with the COVID-19 Call Center.
To learn more about monkeypox prevention programs and resources, visit de.gov/monkeypox.
Upcoming town halls
Beebe Healthcare is inviting the public to a virtual town hall for a discussion on the monkeypox virus in Sussex County at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15.
Dr. David A. Tam, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, and Bill Chasanov, DO, Beebe’s chief population health officer, will share updates on Monkeypox as a public health concern.
Recordings will be published for viewing after the town hall ends.
CAMP Rehoboth Community Center will hold a town hall on Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. addressing the monkeypox situation in Delaware.
This town hall is in partnership with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.
DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik will be discussing Delaware’s response to the virus in the CAMP community and will field questions and concerns from community members.
The event will be held at CAMP Rehoboth, 37 Baltimore Avenue, Rehoboth Beach.
Registration is required at this link.
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