CDC confirms case of monkeypox in Philadelphia, first in Pennsylvania – CBS Philly

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CDC confirms case of monkeypox in Philadelphia, first in Pennsylvania - CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The CDC has now confirmed a case of monkeypox in Philadelphia – the first found in Pennsylvania. Monkeypox infections in the United States have doubled to 21 in a week.

Meanwhile, the CDC is stepping up efforts to combat the spread of the virus by instituting an emergency response.

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“Given how well connected our world is, no one is truly isolated,” said Dana Perella, Department of Health’s Acute Communicable Diseases Program Manager.

Monkeypox is spread through extended close contact.

With several large crowds expected at events in Philadelphia this weekend, health officials say people should know what to look out for.

Monkeypox, the contagious virus that causes lesions, may be more widespread than first thought, but CDC officials say the overall risk remains low.

“Currently, however, reported cases in the United States are mostly in gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men,” said Dr. CDC’s Jennifer McQuinston.

Doctors say anyone can get monkeypox. It is not transmitted sexually, but spreads primarily through close contact or large respiratory droplets.

“It’s important that we recognize that this is not a gay infection,” said Dr. Mark Watkins, infectious disease specialist.

The Mazzoni Center says the organization wants to raise awareness and is releasing a note on the upcoming Pride celebrations.

“You’re not going to get it just from casual contact that way, if you’re walking down the street and bumping into someone in a crowd,” Watkins said.

At a concert you sit next to someone, maybe dance next to someone for a few hours. Is that a potential risk?

“So some people will say that you shouldn’t have that close physical contact with someone you don’t know,” Watkins said.

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Another event in Philadelphia this weekend that expects big crowds is the Roots Picnic and Concert.

“I don’t think we should panic, it doesn’t spread the same way COVID does. You know, it’s not nearly as easy to get this as it is to get COVID, for example. So you know, I don’t see it as the next pandemic, but it’s interesting and unusual. And I think we definitely need to investigate to find out what’s really going on,” said Dr. Marci Drees, ChristianaCare’s Chief Infection Prevention Officer.

Monkeypox Symptoms

According to Drees, the virus spreads through close contact, including skin or respiratory transmission, and is most likely diagnosed when a rash breaks out several days after exposure.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and a rash that develops one to three days after exposure.

“The rash can appear on different parts of the body. It is usually more common on the face and extremities than the central part of the body. What sets this outbreak apart is that it was sometimes confined to the genital area,” Drees said.

Drees also says if you develop the rash, it’s important to contact your doctor and cover and isolate it immediately.

“It can also be spread through materials, so if you handle someone’s bedding or towels with monkeypox lesions, you can infect it that way,” Drees said.

Monkeypox was accidentally imported into the United States in 2003 – transmitted by rodents shipped from Africa to prairie dogs.

It has historically been transmitted from animals to humans, but officials have not been able to trace this outbreak, which was first detected in a British patient last month.

“It’s clearly spreading differently than before,” Drees said.

Monkeypox is similar to the smallpox virus, and the smallpox vaccine can be used to treat high-risk patients with monkeypox.

Officials say the best way to stay safe is to practice social distancing, masking and proper hand washing.

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CBS3’s Alicia Roberts, Ross DiMattei and Stephanie Stahl contributed to this report.

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