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Connecticut reports first case of monkeypox

People lined up outside of Department of Health & Mental Hygiene clinic on June 23, 2022 in New York City, United States as NYC makes vaccines available to residents possibly exposed to monkeypox.
Tayfun Coskun
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
People line up outside the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's clinic on June 23, 2022, in New York City, which is making vaccines available to residents possibly exposed to monkeypox.

Connecticut reported its first case of monkeypox on Tuesday, in a resident from New Haven County.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health said the patient, a man in his 40s, is isolating and has not been hospitalized.

“DPH believes that the risk to Connecticut residents from this case is low,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, the state’s public health commissioner.

With the U.S. in the midst of a monkeypox outbreak, Connecticut will likely see more cases in the weeks ahead, Juthani said.

“Monkeypox can spread through close prolonged contact with an infected person,” she said. "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.”

State officials say they’ve been working to raise awareness of monkeypox in recent weeks.

Residents concerned about fever, swollen glands and a new rash should contact a doctor.

Cases of monkeypox have been popping up across the Northeast, including New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As of early July, more than 5,700 cases had been identified globally, including about 465 in the United States.

Experts want people to know that there are tests, treatments and vaccines for monkeypox. The viral disease is typically endemic in several central and western African countries.

"This is a known pathogen that did exactly what we predicted it could potentially do” – spread on a larger scale, said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles who recently spoke at a virtual expert panel hosted by Yale University.

Monkeypox usually spreads through close physical contact, including direct exposure to bodily fluids like saliva. The virus causes a rash, and if it first appears in the genital area, it could be mistaken for something like a sexually transmitted disease.

That's why Nathan Grubaugh of the Yale School of Public Health says community testing needs to be scaled up.

“It might make ordering these tests easier, especially in the circumstances when the symptoms resemble so many other common diseases,” he said.

Connecticut Public Radio's Nicole Leonard contributed to this report.


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