Governor Lamont urges calm in wake of monkeypox case

Gov. Ned Lamont talks with the media in Aug. of 2020 at Cafe Aura in Manchester about an increase to the 50% limit on indoor seating for restaurants. Paul Hughes Republican-American

By Paul Hughes Republican-American

WATERBURY — Gov. Ned Lamont urged calm after state health officials last week reported the first case of monkeypox in Connecticut.

The state Department of Health issued an advisory that said a male resident of New Haven County aged 40-49 is now isolating after being diagnosed, but the man has not had to be hospitalized.

“DPH believes the risk to Connecticut residents from this case is low,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, the public health commissioner.

Infections with the West African strain of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak are rarely fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monkey pox typically spreads by skin-to-skin contact, or contact with contaminated clothing or bedding. Most patients suffer fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. Others might develop a rash and lesions. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

“The United States is currently experiencing a monkeypox outbreak, and there will likely be additional cases in Connecticut in the weeks ahead,” Juthani said. “Monkey pox can spread through close prolonged contact with an infected person. This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.”

After touring Drew Marine in Waterbury, Lamont said he had been informed of the state’s first monkeypox case. He urged the public not to overreact to the news.

“I think it is very, very rare. You pay me to worry. I’m not as worried on this front yet,” Lamont said.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between people, according to the CDC.

The disease can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed, according to the CDC. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. Sometimes people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.

State health officials advise Connecticut residents who are concerned about fever, swollen glands and a new rash to contact their health care provider for evaluation.

Health care providers should request orthopoxvirus testing for patients at the State Public Health Laboratory.