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Connecticut's monkeypox cases has increased to 16

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Mayor Justin Elicker
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New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker wants residents to be on alert after two of Connecticut’s 16 monkeypox cases were identified in the city on Thursday.

Both residents are males in their 20s and 30s and are recovering at home with mild symptoms.

Elicker highlighted guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that despite most cases are in gay and bisexual men, but anyone can get the virus.

“We need to make sure that all people take action to prevent the possibility of contracting monkeypox,” Elicker said. “We all do our part. And if you have symptoms, contact someone.”

LGBTQ advocates are also cautioning against stigmatizing the gay community.

Maritza Bond, director of the city's health department, said if anyone is experiencing fatigue and flu-like symptoms, as well as rash, blisters or lesions, especially in the genital area, to contact their healthcare provider.

“We want to note that it could be mistaken as an STI, or a sexually transmitted disease,” Bond said. “It's important for individuals that are presenting any of these symptoms to get access to testing including for monkeypox to determine the diagnosis.”

Monkeypox spreads through close physical touch and direct exposure to bodily fluids and rash, which can appear on the inside of the mouth or other parts of the body, including hands, feet and chest.

Officials recommend washing clothing or linens that have come into contact with any infectious rash or body fluids. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

Connecticut does not have a large number of the monkeypox vaccine due to relatively low cases. Dr. Richard Martinello, the medical director of infection prevention at Yale New Haven Hospital, said the hospital system is gearing up to provide out-patient care.

“This has involved making sure that our pharmacy has medications available for those who have severe disease and require treatment,” Martinello said. “We’re making sure that we have the vaccine available for those who need it as post-exposure prophylaxis, which right now, thankfully, is a very small number of individuals.”

City residents can learn more about monkeypox by visiting newhavenct.gov/monkeypox or by calling 203-946-6999.

Those who don't have a healthcare provider or health insurance, residents can call one of New Haven's public health centers to make a free appointment.

  • Cornell Scott - Hill Health Center: 203-503-3000
  • Fair Haven Community Health Care: 203-777-7411
  • Yale New Haven Health: 833-275-9644
Natalie Discenza is a Sacred Heart News Fellow at WSHU. She is a native of Syracuse, New York.