Advertisement
Howard County Times
Howard County

Five cases of monkeypox confirmed in Howard County

At least five monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Howard County as of Thursday, and the county’s health department is making preparations to help prevent further spread of the virus, a health official said.

As of Aug. 10, there were 236 confirmed monkeypox cases in Maryland, or slightly more than 2% of the 10,392 monkeypox cases in the U.S. Last week, the White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a move that freed up additional funding and resources to fight the outbreak.

Advertisement

Howard County will distribute the Jynneos vaccine to those who have been in close contact with individuals diagnosed with monkeypox or those who have suspected cases, according to Howard County health officer Dr. Maura Rossman.

The Howard County Health Department has distributed one dose each to two different people in the county who “were identified as close contacts” and as a result has 36 doses of the two-dose vaccine on hand.

Advertisement

“Once we get a more ample supply of vaccines, we will begin offering the vaccine more widely to individuals who are at high risk of monkeypox but may not know that they’ve been exposed or it is likely that they have been exposed but have no official word,” Rossman said.

The Howard health department has been monitoring the spread of the disease closely and is providing education and outreach to reduce risk among vulnerable populations.

“The job of public health is to keep abreast of emerging threats to our community,” Rossman said. “We’ve obviously been living through that for the past few years, but monkeypox is yet another example of an infectious disease that has been spreading globally and is now affecting the United States, Maryland and Howard County.”

Howard County Times: Top stories

Howard County Times: Top stories

Weekdays

Daily highlights from Howard County's number one source for local news.

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, part of the same family of viruses as smallpox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include a rash, sores, fatigue and a fever that typically dissipate within a few weeks. More information is available at the county’s monkeypox information page.

Unlike several other states with higher case counts, Gov. Larry Hogan has yet to declare a state of emergency but has continued to press federal authorities for additional vaccines. As of last week, the federal government had allocated to Maryland enough doses to vaccinate 3,202 people with the Jynneos vaccine. Officials have stated they are sending doses to areas with higher case numbers in Baltimore City and the Washington suburbs.

Before the outbreaks this year in the U.S. and Europe, monkeypox was largely confined to several countries in Central and West Africa. Maryland’s first case was reported in mid-June. The disease can be spread by touching infected individuals’ sores or rashes and surfaces or fabrics they interacted with, as well as by sexual contact. A majority of cases in the U.S. thus far have occurred among men who have sex with men.

Advertisement

“The good news is that for monkeypox we have available vaccines. So, we don’t have to go and reinvent the wheel, we just have to be able to increase its availability,” Rossman said.


Advertisement