WASHINGTON — Monkeypox cases continue to rise in the D.C. region, according to health officials. As of Tuesday, there are 53 confirmed cases in the District, nine cases in Maryland, and 13 cases in Virginia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), D.C. is among the regions with the highest number of monkeypox cases in the country.
Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Health have so far opened up two vaccine sites for D.C. residents by appointment only to combat the increased numbers of monkeypox cases.
Vaccines are free and available to eligible residents, but they must act fast when the appointment sessions open, as the past two openings have filled up in a matter of minutes.
According to health officials, the federal government release the vaccines based on the number of monkeypox cases in each state. DC Health said in a statement Tuesday, that they had recently received approximately 1,200 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine.
"Between Saturday and [Tuesday], a total of 900 appointments were made available and scheduled," the department said in a statement. "DC Health does not have information about how many doses it will receive in mid-July."
DC Health said moving forward, vaccine delivery information will be publicly available every Wednesday on the Health and Human Services website.
Health officials say men who have sex with other men, have multiple sexual partners and anyone who had any anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days is eligible to get the monkey vaccine. Additionally, transgender women and nonbinary people assigned as male at birth who have sex with men also qualify. Sex workers and people who work at establishments where sexual activity takes place -- such as bathhouses, saunas and sex clubs -- are also eligible for the vaccine.
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease that can be transmitted through direct contact with body fluid or monkeypox lesions, according to the CDC. Symptoms from the infection appear between 7-14 days after exposure, and the illness can typically lasts between 2 to 4 weeks.
The symptoms of monkeypox can be similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes