A 42-year-old Kent County man and two New Castle County men, 19 and 24, have become the fourth, fifth and sixth Delawareans to test positive for monkeypox.
The risk to the general public in Delaware remains low, the Division of Public Health said Thursday.
None of the individuals reported recent travel. While at least one individual confirmed close intimate contact with another individual, none reported close contact with someone known to have monkeypox.
All three individuals reported close contact with a very limited number of individuals and are self-isolating.
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.
Though U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra declared monkeypox a national public health emergency Thursday, the Division of Public Health does not plan to make a similar declaration specific to Delaware, the agency said in a press release.
“However, low risk does not mean no risk,” the agency said.
There have been more than 6,600 confirmed infections in the United States — overwhelmingly among gay and bisexual men.
Anyone may contract monkeypox, though certain activities by individuals can increase their chance of contracting the virus.
Monkeypox is different from COVID-19 in that it spreads primarily through direct contact with the rash or scabs of someone with monkeypox.
Contact may include intimate contact, kissing, cuddling, sharing kitchen utensils or toothbrushes, and coming into contact with an infected person’s bedding, bath towels or clothing.
The rate of serious illness or death attached to monkeypox nationally is also extremely low, according to the CDC.
Currently, there is no specific treatment for monkeypox, though antivirals may be prescribed.
Delaware has received a limited supply of monkeypox vaccine, which is being prioritized for those with direct contact with individuals who have a confirmed case of the virus.
Additional doses are becoming available and Delaware plans to soon implement other strategies, such as offering vaccines for expanded pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those in high-risk groups.
Those who may be eligible for expanded vaccine access include:
- People who are aware that one of their sexual or intimate partners in the past two weeks was diagnosed with monkeypox
- Someone who has had multiple sex partners in the last 21 days
- Someone who has met partners through dating apps or attended a party, or club where intimate contact occurred
- Those who are HIV positive or are receiving PrEP treatment for HIV without known exposure to monkeypox
There are many things residents and visitors should do, regardless of eligibility for vaccination, to prevent or reduce the chance of contracting monkeypox.
People should avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Individuals who are sexually active can minimize their risk of exposure by limiting the number of partners they have and talking to their partner about their recent history and behaviors, as well as inquiring about any rashes or other symptoms. As a general preventive behavior, individuals should wash their hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Monkeypox 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 monkeypox 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 MPX. The hotline number is 866-408-1899 and is operational Monday – 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, go here.
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