Massachusetts reports 8 new monkeypox cases, brings state’s total to 21 infections

State health officials on Thursday reported eight new monkeypox cases, bringing the Bay State’s total to 21 confirmed virus infections as the feds this week announced they’re handing out 300,000 vaccines to slow the country’s outbreak.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the eight additional cases in men. The first case in the state, which was the country’s first confirmed monkeypox infection, was announced on May 18.

The eight new cases had their diagnoses in the last week after initial testing at the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain.

DPH said it’s working with local health officials, the patients and health care providers to identify people who may have been in contact with the patients while they were infectious. The eight individuals are isolating to prevent spreading monkeypox to others.

The CDC has reported 351 monkeypox cases in US residents amid the global outbreak. There have been no deaths in the US or globally related to this outbreak, and patients generally recover fully in 2 to 4 weeks. Although many of the early cases were associated with international travel, recent cases are not.

“Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up a large proportion of the cases identified to date,” DPH said in a statement. “However, the risk is not limited to the LGBTQ community, and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.”

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