With a recent cluster of mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) reported in Chicago and two new cases reported in New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is reminding residents ahead of the summer season to be aware of their risks and virus symptoms, and emphasizes that vaccination offers the best protection against serious illness.
Mpox cases in New Jersey peaked in summer 2022. While cases significantly declined following the summer months, two new cases have been reported in New Jersey this week, the first since February.
Individuals can find locations for the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccines at nj.gov/health/mpox. Methods for mpox vaccination injection have been modified since last summer and the injection site is less visible than before.
“Mpox vaccines are free and remain available in New Jersey,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Vaccination is the best tool to prevent the spread of mpox, and the Department encourages anyone who is at risk for mpox and hasn’t received the two-dose vaccine yet to get it or catch up with their second dose. We continue to monitor mpox in New Jersey and will continue to work with community leaders and organizations to raise awareness and help residents have a healthy summer.”
NJDOH notes that, while the vaccine continues to offer the greatest protection against serious illness, recent cases have indicated that some people who were previously vaccinated may still be able to develop symptoms if exposed to the virus. Individuals at greater risk of exposure who were vaccinated last year are still encouraged to exercise caution.
Mpox spreads through close personal contact, including skin-to-skin contact and during sex or intimate contact. Symptoms can include a rash, fever, chills, headache and other aches, swollen lymph nodes, and respiratory symptoms (such as sore throat or cough). People with mpox may experience all or only a few symptoms.
Individuals who have had close contact with someone exhibiting symptoms should check themselves for symptoms for 21 days and seek out a vaccine whenever appropriate. People who develop any of these symptoms should contact a health care provider regarding testing.
NJDOH recommends vaccination against mpox for individuals at greatest risk of exposure. A full list of the individuals eligible for and recommended to receive the vaccine can be found here and vaccination sites can be found here.
Individuals who have mpox should talk with their health care provider about treatment options. While there are no treatments specifically for mpox, tecovirimat (TPOXX) is a medication that may be indicated to help prevent or minimize severe mpox disease and is available in New Jersey through health care providers.
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