Two more Massachusetts men test positive for monkeypox virus

Two more Massachusetts men have tested positive for the monkeypox virus, nearly a month after the state’s first case of the virus was reported amid an international outbreak, the Department of Public Health said Sunday. The tests came back positive on Saturday.

The two men had contact with each other, but not with the initial case, and are isolating, the department said in a statement. The Boston Public Health Commission will lead contact tracing efforts.

Monkeypox infections remain rare, and none of the close contacts from Massachusetts’s first case developed monkeypox, DPH state epidemiologist Catherine Brown said in the statement. “It is very important to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox and to be vigilant. Individuals with concerning rashes should contact their healthcare provider,” she said.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and the development of raised, fluid-filled lesions, though a rash is often the first symptom, the department said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 49 cases of monkeypox virus infections nationwide on Friday, a number that has been rising steadily.

Initial cases of monkeypox virus, related to the smallpox virus, were linked to international travel, the department said. However, men who have sex with men now make up a large proportion of identified cases, but anyone who is exposed to someone with monkeypox is at risk, according to the statement.

The monkeypox virus does not spread easily but is transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluids or monkeypox sores, the department said.

No deaths have been reported in the US or globally during the current outbreak, and most cases are mild, with recovery coming in two to four weeks, officials said.

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