Home COVID-19 Monkeypox Confirmed in Jersey City; First Case in NJ

Monkeypox Confirmed in Jersey City; First Case in NJ

by The Hoboken Girl Team
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On June 20th, 2022, the New Jersey Department of Health announced that an individual in Hudson County had tested positive for monkeypox. A tweet from the official Jersey City twitter account confirmed that the individual is a Jersey City resident. Monkeypox is also known as orthopox and presents in most patients as flu-like symptoms, including lethargy, fever, headache, rash, and lesions. Read on for what you need to know about this disease.

monkeypox jersey city nj

About Monkeypox

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Monkeypox is a zoonotic (spreads from animals to humans) virus endemic to west and central African nations. Symptoms last two to four weeks and most symptoms resolve on their own. Patients may also experience a secondary infection or complication, which is why it’s important that suspected monkeypox patients seek medical attention. Treatments are available, including an antiviral that had previously been approved to treat smallpox.

JC monkeypox tweet

There have been previous outbreaks of monkeypox in non-endemic countries, including a 2003 outbreak in the midwestern US. Nearly 50 people were sickened, and it was determined that they became infected through close contact with infected prairie dogs.

In mid-May 2022, European health officials reported outbreaks of monkeypox in non-endemic countries including Germany, Spain, and Portugal. Patients were soon diagnosed world-wide, thanks to international travel. The case in Hudson County is not the first reported case in the US, but is the first reported case in New Jersey.

Read more: 1st Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Administered to Hoboken Healthcare Workers

The disease takes a few weeks to run its course. Upon exposure, it can take between 7-20 days for symptoms to appear, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. The average is about 12 days. The initial symptoms are similar to a flu or other virus: fatigue, lethargy, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and headaches. The lesions, or ‘pox,’ often accompany these symptoms. The lesions can be anywhere on the body, including in the genital area. The illness itself lasts two to four weeks and the lesions take an average of 14 to 21 days to resolve. A presumptive diagnosis can be made through the combination of symptoms and exposure. A definitive diagnosis can be made using a clinical test, either a blood draw, a nasal swab, or a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

How to protect yourself and others

Monkeypox is airborne and is spread through close contact with an infected person. Because so many of the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to other diseases, it’s important that a person who suspects they may have monkeypox or has been exposed to monkeypox take their symptoms seriously. According to the WHO, close contact is defined as: “skin to skin contact, mouth to skin contact, face to face contact, or handling the bedding, towels, or other objects handled by an infected person.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that pregnant women can pass the virus to the fetus.

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) says in a press release, “As a precaution, any New Jersey residents who experience flu-like illness with swelling of lymph nodes and rash occurring on the face and body should contact their healthcare provider.”

Patients are encouraged to self-isolate and contact the local health department, which will then perform contact tracing to communicate with anyone else who has been exposed. Other preventative measures include hand washing, frequently cleaning shared surfaces, wearing a mask, and avoiding symptomatic people.

See more: Dentists Share Why Keeping Up With Your Oral Health Is Crucial During COVID-19

Many times the terms ‘close contact’ and ‘sexual contact’ are inaccurately used interchangeably. Close contact can be sexual contact, and a person can be come infected through close contact, but not all close contact is sexual contact. According to the Fenway Institute, a Boston-based organization with a mission to is to optimize health and well-being for sexual and gender minorities (SGM) and those affected by HIV, these two factors have caused a great deal of misinformation in public health messaging about how this disease is spread and who is impacted. To clarify, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can be communicated through sexual or other close contact.

Resources for Residents

New Jersey Department of Health
Hoboken Health Department
Jersey City Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization
Hudson County Health and Human Services 

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