Eight new cases of monkeypox were reported Thursday by The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). All of the cases are in adult men, and occurred within the past week. This brings the total number of cases recorded in the state up to 21. The first case was announced May 18.
Public updates on the spread of monkeypox in Massachusetts are now being released weekly, each Thursday. The eight people with new cases were all diagnosed between June 23 and June 29, according to the DPH. All eight people are currently isolating in order to prevent the virus from spreading further.
In total, there have been 351 confirmed cases of monkeypox this year in American residents, according to the CDC. Patients generally recover in two to four weeks, and there have been no deaths related to the current outbreak, according to the DPH.
The first cases in Massachusetts and other parts of the country were associated with international travel, but recent cases are not. Although men who have sex with men make up a “large proportion” of the cases identified so far, the risk presented by this virus is not contained to the LGBTQ community.
Anyone who has had close contact with another person carrying the virus could be at risk, although the DPH said it does not spread easily between people.
Transmission usually occurs through direct contact with body fluids and sores or by touching items like clothing and bedding that have been contaminated with the virus. It can also be spread through respiratory droplets, but this happens less frequently and requires prolonged face-to-face contact. The locations of rashes and lesions in many recent cases suggest transmission during sexual contact. Monkeypox does not spread through brief, casual conversations or by touching items like doorknobs, the DPH said.
Early symptoms of the virus include rash, fever, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. Monkeypox rashes develop lesions that start flat but become raised and filled with liquid.
Stay up to date on all the latest news from Boston.com