First monkeypox-related death reported in New Jersey
TRENTON – Monkeypox contributed to the death of a New Jersey resident last month, state health officials said Monday.
It’s the first reported death in the state tied to monkeypox, and the 10th in the United States, since the current outbreak began in the spring. There have been 49 people hospitalized in the state due to the viral infection.
Officials released few details, citing privacy concerns. The individual lived in North Jersey, had a history of underlying medical conditions and was confirmed to have had monkeypox in mid-September.
There have been 754 reported cases of monkeypox in New Jersey this year, according to the state Department of Health. That includes 184 cases in Hudson County, 128 in Essex County, 71 in Union County, and 70 in Bergen County.
Nationally there have been 28,657 cases, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data as of Friday. New Jersey has had the eighth most cases among the states.
The state Department of Health said cases of monkeypox have been declining over the past weeks in New Jersey, which is also the case nationally. Cases nationwide peaked at an average of around 450 per day in early August but had fallen to under 30 a day as of the start of November.
In New Jersey, cases averaged 88 per week from late July through mid-August. Since late September they have averaged around seven cases a week, including three per week most recently.
But state officials say the disease is still circulating and can cause severe illness or death.
They say those at risk of severe disease include people with weakened immune systems, children especially those under 8 years old, pregnant or nursing people, and individuals with certain conditions that affect skin integrity.
Ninety-six percent of recorded cases have been among males, according to the state data.
State officials recommend that individuals most at risk get the two-dose monkeypox vaccine to help prevent infections or reduce the severity of the disease. Free vaccines are available at vaccination sites throughout the state.
To date, 14,255 people have gotten monkeypox vaccines, including 3,812 people in Hudson County, 2,101 in Essex County, 1,399 in Bergen County, and 1,222 in Monmouth County.
Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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