As the summer season approaches and recent cases of Mpox surface, the New Jersey Department of Health emphasizes the importance of staying informed and getting vaccinated, especially for individuals at risk.
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is advising residents to stay vigilant this summer season amidst recent Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) outbreaks in Chicago and two new local cases. As the first reported cases since February, these instances underscore the need for awareness, preventive measures, and especially vaccinations, which offer the best defense against severe disease.
Mpox cases in New Jersey witnessed a peak during the summer of 2022, before tapering off towards the end of the year. However, the recent discovery of two new cases has prompted renewed caution from the NJDOH.
Judith Persichilli, Health Commissioner, encouraged residents to take advantage of the freely available Mpox vaccines in the state.
"Vaccination is the best tool to prevent the spread of Mpox," said Persichilli. "We urge anyone at risk who hasn't received the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine to get it or complete their vaccination with the second dose."
The Department continues its steadfast monitoring of Mpox in New Jersey and vows to work hand-in-hand with community leaders and organizations to raise awareness and ensure a safe and healthy summer season.
NJDOH draws attention to the fact that while the vaccine provides significant protection against serious illness, some vaccinated individuals may still develop symptoms if exposed to the virus. Particularly those at higher risk who were vaccinated last year are encouraged to exercise caution and continue preventive measures.
Mpox spreads primarily through close personal contact, including intimate contact and skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms may vary among individuals but typically include rash, fever, chills, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and respiratory symptoms such as a sore throat or cough.
Those who have been in close contact with a person displaying these symptoms should monitor themselves for any signs of illness for 21 days and seek vaccination when appropriate. Any symptom onset should be immediately communicated to a healthcare provider for testing and possible treatment.
NJDOH highly recommends Mpox vaccination for individuals at greatest risk of exposure. The list of individuals eligible for and recommended to receive the vaccine can be accessed on the NJDOH website, along with information about vaccination sites.
For those diagnosed with Mpox, consultation with a healthcare provider is essential for discussing potential treatment options. Although there is no specific treatment for Mpox, the medication tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be used to prevent or mitigate severe disease and is available in New Jersey through healthcare providers.
For more information about Mpox, including a comprehensive FAQ section, visit nj.gov/health/mpox. Awareness and preventive measures remain the best defense in the face of this disease, and NJDOH is committed to assisting residents in achieving a safe and healthy summer season.