DPH Announces Six New Cases Of Monkeypox; Vaccine Expansion Underway

DOVER, DE (Aug 23, 2022) ­– The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing six additional cases of monkeypox (MPX), bringing the state’s total to 17. Of the six new cases, three individuals are from Sussex County and three are from New Castle County. All cases are considered probable pending confirmatory testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The New Castle County cases are all males, ages 26, 38 and 57 years old. The Sussex County cases include males who are ages 33, 48 and 58 years old. None of the cases are related to one another. All patients have reported recent high-risk intimate contact prior to onset. The 33-year-old also reported recent travel.

Currently, while there is no specific treatment for MPX, antivirals can be prescribed, though they are not always needed. 

Vaccines are available to those confirmed to have been exposed, or who are at higher risk of being exposed to the virus. Last week, medical providers who offer HIV PrEP began administering vaccine to patients. This week, vaccine access was further expanded to include those engaging in high-risk activities, including sexual practices, that increase exposure to MPX, such as:

  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple (more than one) or any anonymous sexual partners in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes meeting partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
  • Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men
  • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation/gender)
  • Staff (of any sexual orientation/gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)

Eligible persons can be vaccinated at the following locations:

  • Beebe Healthcare, as of Friday, Aug. 26. Individuals can schedule an appointment at beebehealthcare.org/online-scheduling. Walk-ins will not be accepted.
  • DPH clinics: Individuals should call the MPX hotline at 866-408-1899 for a screening evaluation. Walk-ins at DPH clinics will not be accepted. Monkeypox vaccinations at DPH clinics will continue to prioritize individuals at highest risk after a DPH evaluation: persons known or presumed to be exposed to someone with MPX in the last 14 days, and certain individuals who have sex with men and who have had multiple sex partners within the past 14 days. As a result, appointments may need to be scheduled a few days out.
  • DPH and CAMP Rehoboth are hosting an event on Aug. 23 at CAMP’s Rehoboth Beach location. The pre-registration for this event is currently full. Walk-ins will not be accepted. DPH is also partnering with AIDS Delaware and the Delaware HIV Consortium to hold a vaccine clinic on Aug. 25 at the Community Services Building in Wilmington. This event is also full. Walk-ins will not be accepted. 

Individuals should be aware that the vaccine, a two-dose series given 28 days apart, is not considered effective until two weeks after the second dose. Those at higher risk should continue to use preventive measures and reduce engaging in any high-risk behaviors until that time.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of MPX are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. Most people who contract MPX will develop a rash, and some will develop flu-like symptoms beforehand. The flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they usually will develop a rash one to four days later.

If you suspect you are experiencing any symptoms associated with MPX you should immediately:

  • Contact your health care provider and discuss your symptoms and concerns.
  • Self-isolate until all lesions have resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
  • Avoid being intimate with others.
  • Make a list of your close and intimate contacts in the last 21 days.

To learn more information about monkeypox, please visit de.gov/monkeypox. DPH began posting MPX case and vaccine data on the website last week.

DPH launched a hotline for individuals with questions or concerns about MPX. The hotline number is 866-408-1899 and is operational Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to DPHCall@delaware.gov. Both the hotline number and email address share staff with the COVID-19 Call Center. To learn more about MPX prevention programs and resources, visit de.gov/monkeypox.

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Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e., TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com. 

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.