This story was updated Friday at 3:13 p.m.
Connecticut health officials on Friday announced that 12 residents have now been diagnosed with monkeypox.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health said all patients are between the ages of 20 and 50 and live in Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties. The majority of the patients have not been hospitalized, officials said.
Connecticut’s first case was announced July 5.
“Monkeypox spreads through close prolonged contact with an infected person,” Dr. Manisha Juthani, state health commissioner, said in a statement. “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.”
Residents concerned about fever, swollen glands and a new rash should contact their health care provider, Juthani said.
Due to the state’s current low case count, health officials said Connecticut has not received a substantial allotment of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government. More doses are expected soon.
Meanwhile, thousands more doses of monkeypox vaccine are expected to soon begin shipping to the U.S. after federal health officials said they had completed an inspection of the overseas plant where they were manufactured.
The update from the Food and Drug Administration comes amid growing frustration about limited access to the two-dose vaccine as thousands of people in New York City, California and other parts of the U.S. await a chance to get the shot.
Cases of monkeypox have been popping up across the Northeast, including New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As of mid-July, more than 1,400 cases have been identified in the United States.
Experts want people to know that there are tests, treatments and vaccines for monkeypox. The viral disease is typically endemic in several central and western African countries.
“This is a known pathogen that did exactly what we predicted it could potentially do” – spread on a larger scale, said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles who recently spoke at a virtual expert panel hosted by Yale University.
Monkeypox usually spreads through close physical contact, including direct exposure to bodily fluids like saliva. The virus causes a rash, and if it first appears in the genital area, it could be mistaken for something like a sexually transmitted disease.
That’s why Nathan Grubaugh of the Yale School of Public Health says community testing needs to be scaled up.
“It might make ordering these tests easier, especially in the circumstances when the symptoms resemble so many other common diseases,” he said.
Connecticut Public Radio’s Nicole Leonard and the Associated Press contributed to this report.