(Norwalk, Conn.) Today, August 2, 2022, Norwalk's Health Department shared critical preventive health care information and local resources to help mitigate the spread of monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Beginning in May 2022, cases of monkeypox were reported in the United States and more than 50 other countries that don't typically report monkeypox. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH), as of August 1, 2022, there have been 35 cases of monkeypox virus in Connecticut. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox and symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but less severe. The virus is seldomly fatal, but the infection can be painful and long-lasting.
How to Recognize Symptoms
Monkeypox symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
The illness typically lasts anywhere from two to four weeks.
If you have symptoms and are concerned that you have monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to test you and give you treatment and guidance if you do have the virus.
How Monkeypox Spreads
People can only spread monkeypox when they have symptoms, and they are considered infectious until their rash has healed and new skin has formed over it.
Monkeypox can spread from person to person through:
- Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids;
- Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex; and
- Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched an infected person's infectious rash or body fluids.
To help curb the spread of monkeypox, CT DPH has partnered with 15 health care providers to distribute vaccinations throughout the state, including Circle Care Center, a Norwalk medical provider that provides high-quality LGBTQ-affirming medical and sexual health services. Circle Care Center and other providers throughout the state can provide the vaccine to eligible individuals, currently defined as CT residents over the age of 18 who also are:
- People who have had confirmed exposure to someone diagnosed with the monkeypox virus or
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the vaccine be given within four days from the date of exposure for the best chance of preventing the onset of the disease.
Vaccine supply is limited, and appointments are required at all vaccine sites. To request an appointment at Circle Care Center, visit https://reviews.solutionreach.com/vs/world_health_clinicians/appt or call (203) 852-9525.
For more information and a list of all the health care providers across CT administering doses of the monkeypox vaccine, visit https://www.circlecarecenter.org/monkeypox-explained.
For more information about monkeypox, please visit the CDC monkeypox webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.htm and the DPH monkeypox webpage at https://portal.ct.gov/dph/epidemiology-and-emerging-infections/ct-monkeypox.