An earlier version of this story contained the incorrect number of new cases. The error has been corrected.
BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Thursday an additional 42 cases of monkeypox in adult men this week, which now brings the total number of cases to 157 in the state.
The 42 new cases had their diagnoses between July 28 and August 3. 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. As of Wednesday, 5,875 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine have been administered across the state. 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 Biden administration on Thursday officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a move that’s aimed at freeing up emergency funding and improving the distribution of vaccines and treatments.
“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during a briefing.
A public health emergency won’t ease the shortages of vaccines, but it could expedite the approval process for new treatments and provide more flexibility for federal agencies to respond to the outbreak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, known monkeypox infections top 6,600, nearly all among men who have sex with men. New York state is the epicenter of the outbreak with almost a third of all cases, followed by California.