Washington DC

Monkeypox Cases Spike in DC

Cases in Washington, DC, increased from 7 last week to 58 on Tuesday, DC Health officials say

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Monkeypox cases in D.C. have grown eightfold in the past week, and cases are getting more severe, according to health officials.

As of Tuesday, there are 58 known cases of the viral disease in the District. City health officials reported seven people had the virus last Tuesday.

D.C. is among the regions of the country with the most monkeypox cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of the latest patients to contract the virus have had to seek care at hospitals, officials said.

"We have had individuals in D.C. who have been hospitalized for pain control. This is not something, like, where it's just bumps on your body. These can be very painful rashes and lesions on your body," said Patrick Ashley, with the D.C. Department of Health.

Health officials said they are using the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is an FDA-licensed vaccine for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox. There's currently a limited supply of JYNNEOS, however, and there aren't yet enough doses to keep up with demand, officials said.

The federal government is releasing the vaccines based on the number of mokeypox cases in each state, according to D.C. Health.

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"They didn’t have nearly as many doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine. We understand that number to be less than 100,000 vaccines that they had available, and what they've told us is that they’ve ordered millions more doses of that product. It just takes time for them to be able to get that from the manufacturer," Ashley said.

D.C. received more than 1,200 monkeypox vaccine doses on Friday and made 480 appointments available on Tuesday. Those appointments were filled within 90 minutes, DC Health said.

Only those in high-risk groups and people who have come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus can qualify for the vaccine at this time, D.C. Health said.

Ashley warned it's important for people to see a doctor if they develop a rash or lesions and to avoid all physical contact with others.

"That includes, you know, intimate contact with individuals, hugging, skin to skin. We want people just to be very aware that this is going on in the community and to take appropriate precautions," Ashley said.

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