The Camden County Health Department and the state Department of Health have detected a probable case of monkeypox associated with a camp in Camden County, bringing the county’s total cases to 23.
On Aug 24, a laboratory test result positive for orthopoxvirus was reported through the NJ Communicable Disease Surveillance System (CDRSS) to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services. An investigation was initiated by the county and our local public health officials. This individual is isolating at home and contact tracing was performed. Exposed persons were notified, and no high-risk contact was identified. A post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) vaccine clinic is scheduled for those who were determined as having an intermediate exposure.
“Although this case is concerning, health officials on a county and statewide level have acted quickly to mitigate the further spread of this virus,” said Dr. Paschal Nwako, Camden County Health Officer and Public Health Coordinator. “For the public, we need residents to be vigilant about exposures and limiting the spread of this virus.
“If you believe you have been exposed to someone who has the virus call your primary care physician or the Camden County Health Department. Additionally, everyone should exercise caution when it comes to interacting with people outside of your household and stay aware of any symptoms.”
These symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, chills, and a pimple or blister like rash. A vaccine for monkeypox is available for high-risk contacts of an infected person and patients with monkeypox can also receive an antiviral treatment.
Monkeypox spreads person-to-person in the following ways:
- direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- touching items, such as clothing or linens, that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
To lessen the spread of the disease, the CDC recommends the following:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread monkeypox virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.
If you are already sick with monkeypox, the CDC recommends:
- Isolating at home
- If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when possible.
To date, there have been 16,926 confirmed monkeypox cases throughout the country, 471 of those cases reside in New Jersey.
The state Department of Health has made Camden County a regional storage hub for the monkeypox vaccine. Moving into the future any regional health departments in South Jersey with cases and close contacts will be able to work with our public health officials for vaccine distribution.
To learn more about monkeypox, residents can visit cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox. Residents can also call the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at (856) 374-6370.