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As mpox cases increase in CT, public health commissioner urges at-risk residents to get vaccine

FILE: Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani is interviewed in the Connecticut Public/WNPR talk show studio for Where We Live, February 22, 2024.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
FILE: Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani is interviewed in the Connecticut Public/WNPR talk show studio for Where We Live, February 22, 2024.

Eleven people in Connecticut are infected with the mpox virus, which is more than double the number of infections in 2023, according to state health officials.

Dr. Manisha Juthani, commissioner at state Department of Public Health, urged those at risk to get vaccinated.

“This has largely been circulating among people who have sex with men,” she said. “One in three people who the CDC estimates to be at risk for mpox in Connecticut has received both vaccines. In order to be fully vaccinated against mpox, you need to receive two vaccine doses. We have plenty of vaccines. If you received only one vaccine, please come back and get a second and if you have not been vaccinated at all, take this opportunity, because we do know that mpox is circulating in Connecticut.”

In 2022, state health officials reported 145 people were infected with the virus. Juthani said vaccinations brought that down to four last year.

The virus can spread through intimate contact, contaminated objects and respiratory droplets, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As of July 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assessed the overall risk to the U.S. posed by the clade I mpox outbreak to the general population to be “very low,” and the risk to gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, who have more than one sexual partner, and people who have sex with men who have sex with men, regardless of gender, to be “low” to “moderate.”

Mpox is previously known as monkeypox. The Central and West Africa-originating zoonotic disease got a name change when WHO deemed the term as “racist and stigmatizing.”

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.