Md. officials provide update on state’s response to monkeypox outbreak

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Health have issued an update on the state’s response to the human monkeypox outbreak, including efforts to make testing, vaccination, and public health resources widely available for high-risk populations.

“Since before our first monkeypox case was identified, the state has been mounting an aggressive response to this outbreak in coordination with local and regional partners,” said Governor Hogan. “While vaccine supply from the federal government is severely limited at this time, anyone who believes that they may need testing or treatment should contact their healthcare provider or local health department immediately. We will keep pressing the federal government to provide more vaccines to the states and do all we can to make resources available to those at risk.”

As of Tuesday morning, the state is reporting 129-lab confirmed monkeypox cases, representing 2.2% of cases nationwide. We’re told the majority of cases have been reported in the National Capital Region.

Testing for monkeypox is available through commercial labs and the MDH state public health laboratory. It is not available to purchase off store shelves. Anyone who believes they were exposed to monkeypox or have an illness that could be monkeypox should contact their medical provider; those without a provider or insurance should go online to find contact information for their local health department.

Officials say that to date, the federal government has allocated MDH enough doses to vaccinate 3,202 patients with the two-dose Jynneos vaccine. Vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited and additional supply reportedly may not be available until the fall. Based on CDC guidelines, state and local health officials are prioritizing vaccination courses for:

  • Public Health Identified Close Contacts: Known close contacts who are identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments
  • Occupational Exposure: Healthcare workers who may have been exposed to a known case and Laboratory Response Network (LRN) or other laboratory staff working directly with monkeypox testing

Additionally, state and local health officials say they will follow CDC guidelines to make vaccines available to the following categories of individuals based on supply:

  • Self-Identified Partners of Cases: Individuals who are aware that one of their sexual partners from the past two weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Affected Community Members: Individuals in high-risk populations who report any of the following in the last two weeks:
    • Recent group sex or sex with multiple partners
    • Sex or employment at a venue or in association with an event, venue, or defined geographic area where monkeypox transmission has been reported

The Maryland Department of Health says it is focused on ensuring sustained and equitable access to vaccines across all jurisdictions based on data-driven factors. The most doses have been made available to jurisdictions reporting the highest incident of known cases and exposures.

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