BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Thursday an additional 37 cases of monkeypox this week, which now brings the total number of cases to 280 in the state since the first case on May 18.

The 37 new cases had their diagnoses between August 18 and August 24. The Massachusetts DPH is working with local health officials, the patients, and healthcare providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patients while they were infectious. Individuals with monkeypox are advised to isolate and avoid contact with others until they are no longer infectious.

Monkeypox vaccines are available across the state at 14 health care providers and locations. Due to the limited availability of the vaccine, only people that meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria can receive a dose. If you think you qualify to receive the vaccine, you are encouraged to ask your health care provider. The state has administered 15,546 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine, as of August 17.

The CDC indicates there have now been 16,603 cases of monkeypox virus this year in the United States. Monkeypox was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization on July 23 and on August 4, President Biden declared the virus a national health emergency.

The virus does not spread easily between people, but individuals can spread the infection once they begin to develop symptoms. Transmission can occur by direct contact with body fluids and monkeypox sores, touching items contaminated with fluids or sores such as bedding or clothing, or through respiratory droplets but is less common.

  • Monkeypox can spread through:
    • Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions. Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing while a person is infected.
    • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone. Sharing towels or unwashed clothing.
    • Respiratory secretions through face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox)
  • Monkeypox does not spread through:
    • Casual conversations. Walking by someone with monkeypox in a grocery store, for instance. Touching items like doorknobs.