MDH reports first mpox cases of 2023

The first mpox cases of 2023 have been confirmed in the state.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said Friday that it confirmed the cases of mpox — which was formerly known as monkeypox — this week in two adults in Hennepin County.

MDH says with the increase in gatherings and travel over the summer months, the number of mpox cases is expected to increase nationally. The department says it’s been working with local health care providers and community partners to increase awareness of the importance of the vaccine, how to access it what symptoms to look for.

Last year, 234 mpox cases were detected in Minnesota, with the last one coming in November.

The virus, which is mainly spread by prolonged skin-to-skin contact with rashes, scabs or bodily fluids, has disproportionately impacted gay and bisexual men, health officials say.

Fortunately, there is a vaccine that has been shown to decrease the chance of infection and prevent the risk of serious illness, according to MDH.

“The JYNNEOS vaccine is an important tool to prevent mpox infection, particularly after receiving two doses, as recommended,” said Jayne Griffith, lead epidemiologist for surveillance at MDH. “Minnesota has an ample supply of the vaccine, and we encourage those at elevated risk to get both doses.”

Anyone who develops symptoms of mpox is urged to call a doctor immediately, as early testing and treatment can stop further transmission.

MDH has more mpox information online.