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Norwalk issues info on monkeypox, a national public health emergency

Circle Care Center administering vaccine locally for eligible Connecticut residents, by appointment only

(Rhode Island Department of Health)

NORWALK, Conn. — The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency Thursday. To help mitigate the disease’s spread, Norwalk’s Health Department has shared “critical preventive health care information” and local resources.

“Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus,” a City news release said. Beginning in May, cases of monkeypox were reported in the United States and more than 50 other countries that don’t typically report monkeypox. Connecticut saw 35 monkeypox cases as of Monday, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH).

“Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox and symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but less severe. The virus is seldomly fatal, but the infection can be painful and long-lasting,” the news release said.

It explains:

How to Recognize Symptoms

  • Monkeypox symptoms can include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

 

The illness typically lasts anywhere from two to four weeks.

If you have symptoms and are concerned that you have monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to test you and give you treatment and guidance if you do have the virus.

How Monkeypox Spreads

People can only spread monkeypox when they have symptoms, and they are considered infectious until their rash has healed and a new skin has formed over it.

Monkeypox can spread from person to person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids;
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex; and
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched an infected person’s infectious rash or body fluids.

 

Monkeypox Vaccine

To help curb the spread of monkeypox, CT DPH has partnered with 15 health care providers to distribute vaccinations throughout the state, including Circle Care Center, a Norwalk medical provider that provides high-quality LGBTQ-affirming medical and sexual health services. Circle Care Center and other providers throughout the state can provide the vaccine to eligible individuals, currently defined as CT residents over the age of 18 who also are:

  • People who have had confirmed exposure to someone diagnosed with the monkeypox virus or
  • Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non- conforming, or gender non-binary and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the vaccine be given within four days from the date of exposure for the best chance of preventing the onset of the disease.

Vaccine supply is limited, and appointments are required at all vaccine sites. To request an appointment at Circle Care Center, visit https://reviews.solutionreach.com/vs/world_health_clinicians/appt or call (203) 852-9525.

 

 

The Circle Care Center also provides a list of Connecticut health care providers administering doses of the monkeypox vaccine, and more information, here.

You can find the CDC monkeypox webpage here and the DPH monkeypox webpage here.

The Biden administration has been criticized at times for its handling of the outbreak, and some have called on the government to declare a national emergency without delay, CNN reports. Since the first US monkeypox case was identified in mid-May, more than 6,600 probable or confirmed cases have been detected in the United States. Cases have been identified in every state except Montana and Wyoming.

“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said to reporters during a briefing Thursday.

“A public health emergency can trigger grant funding and open up more resources for various aspects of a federal response,” NPR reports. “It also allows the Secretary to enter into contracts for treatments and other necessary medical supplies and equipment, as well as support emergency hospital services, among other things. Public health emergencies last for 90 days but can be extended by the Secretary.”

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