On Aug. 1, a laboratory test yielded a positive result for orthopoxvirus, which was reported through the NJ Communicable Disease Surveillance System (CDRSS) to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services. Based on this report an investigation and contact tracing was initiated by the county and our local public health officials.
Also on Aug. 1, the county’s Health Department received laboratory test results positive for the monkeypox virus from a local hospital. The individual is isolating at home and contact tracing was performed.
“We are now on to our sixth case of monkeypox and we need our residents to be vigilant about exposures and limiting the spread of this virus,” said Paschal Nwako, Camden County health officer and public health coordinator. “If you know someone that has the virus or you have been exposed to that person, call your primary care physician or the Camden County Health Department. Additionally, everyone should exercise caution when it comes to interacting with people outside of your household and stay aware of any symptoms. These symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, chills, and a pimple or blister like rash. A vaccine for monkeypox is available for high-risk contacts of an infected person and patients with monkeypox can also receive an antiviral treatment.”
Monkeypox spreads person-to-person in the following ways:
- direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- touching items, such as clothing or linens, that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
To lessen the spread of the disease, the CDC recommends the following:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread monkeypox virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.
If you are already sick with monkeypox, the CDC recommends:
- Isolating at home
- If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when possible.
To date, there have been 5,811 confirmed monkeypox cases throughout the country, 155 of those cases reside in New Jersey.
The state Department of Health has made Camden County a regional storage hub for the monkeypox vaccine. Moving into the future any regional health departments in South Jersey with cases and close contacts will be able to work with our public health officials for vaccine distribution.
In addition, Cooper University Health Care has also opened monkeypox vaccine clinic. The Cooper Vaccine & Testing Clinic is located at Cooper University Hospital, 300 Broadway, Camden New Jersey at the intersection of Broadway and MLK Boulevard.
These vaccines will be administered by appointment only Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment call 856-968-7100 or go online at https://my.cooperhealth.org/mychart/authentication/login [my.cooperhealth.org]
Additional locations for monkeypox vaccines by appointment include:
- Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Annex 2 (white tent structure), 230 East Ridgewood Ave., Paramus: www.newbridgehealth.org
- Hyacinth AIDS Foundation/Project Living Out Loud!, Jersey City: 201-706-3480
- North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), Newark: 973-483-3444, ext. 200
- The Prevention Resource Network, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, Asbury Park: 732-502-5100
To learn more about monkeypox, residents can visit cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox. Residents can also call the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at (856) 374-6370.