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Delaware County Health Department Confirms Nine Cases of Monkeypox

Delaware County Health Department Confirms Nine Cases of Monkeypox

Posted on August 9, 2022

The Delaware County Health Department (DCHD) confirmed that a total of nine cases of monkeypox have been identified in Delaware County as of August 4. Cases have also been confirmed in recent weeks in Philadelphia and the neighboring collar counties of Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery.

The nation has recorded more than 6,600 cases as of August 3, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This week, President Biden announced the White House's new national monkeypox Response Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator. Globally, more than 26,000 cases have been reported in 87 counties, 80 of which have not historically reported monkeypox. The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23.

“The Delaware County Health Department is aware of the cases and is working with local health officials and health care providers to ensure that Delaware County has the necessary resources,” said Delaware County Health Department Director Melissa L. Lyon, adding “The threat of community spread to Delaware County residents from monkeypox remains extremely low.”

Monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an illness that can cause painful rashes and flu-like symptoms—including headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion—that are caused by a virus related to Smallpox but with milder symptoms and is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

The disease is transmitted through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, typically through broken skin, or through the eyes, nose, and mouth. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, but it can spread through intimate contact.

CDC officials say within one to three days after the appearance of fever, the person infected will develop a rash, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash will eventually dry up and fall off, typically taking 7-14 days from the time of infection for a person to start feeling symptoms of the disease, but the incubation period can also range from 5-21 days.

Despite reports of recent cases across the globe, DCHD officials caution that the disease is less contagious and concerning than COVID-19, since monkeypox does not effectively spread through the air, and vaccines and therapeutics are available to treat the disease after exposure.

DCHD received a small allocation (approximately 300 doses) of the Jynneos vaccine in July and August. The Jynneos vaccine is currently administered to eligible individuals that have been identified, in consultation with the PA Department of Health, as having a high risk of exposure to monkeypox. DCHD has administered the Jynneos vaccine to all Delaware County residents recommended for Jynneos based on the evidence-based criteria developed by the PA DOH and CDC.

Individuals with concerns about their exposure are urged to consider the monkeypox information on the DCHD and CDC websites and contact their regular healthcare provider if needed. Individuals may also reach out to the DCHD Wellness Line at (484) 276-2100 to discuss whether they may be eligible to receive the Jynneos vaccine. Updated information regarding monkeypox can be found on the Delaware County Health Department website at delcopa.gov/monkeypox and on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

“As the opportunities to expand access to vaccine improves, the Delaware County Health Department will participate in those efforts, in collaboration with the PA Department of Health, to appropriately disseminate additional vaccine to those populations in need,” said Director Lyon.

To reduce the risk of contracting monkeypox, the CDC advises individuals to:

  • avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox;
  • avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used; and
  • wash hands often with soap and water (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), especially before eating or touching their face and after use of the bathroom.

For health professionals, the DCHD website highlights links for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Health Alert Network monkeypox advisories. These include the Revised Protocols Regarding the Use of Tecovirimat (TPOXX) for the Treatment of Monkeypox, Addition of Commercial Labs for Monkeypox Virus Testing, and Updated Recommendations for Monkeypox Case Identification and Testing.

Individuals and health providers with health questions may contact the Delaware County Health Department Wellness Line by phone at (484) 276-2100 or by email at DelcoWellness@co.delaware.pa.us.