Saint Vincent’s doctor: ‘Encouraging people to know their partners’ is key to stopping monkeypox

With the first possible death from monkeypox in the United States reported in Texas, a local doctor is warning college students in our area to be careful after cases were found at five colleges and universities around the country.
"This is something that is spread by more intimate contact or by a more communal setting," said Dr. Jo-Anne Passalacqua, an infectious disease specialist at Saint Vincent's Medical Center.
Dr. Passalacqua says there is so much more we are learning about monkeypox since the virus was first noticed in America back in May.
"What is unique about this virus is that a patient can be infectious for as much as 21 days," said Dr. Passalacqua.
She says monkeypox can spread by skin-to-skin contact but the concern is the virus can also be found on bedding and towels from students living close together and sharing a bathroom.
Dr. Passalacqua says the virus usually starts with a fever but sometimes blisters show up first.
"These are typically fluid-filled blisters but they look simply like pimples," said Passalacqua.
The doctor says 95% of the cases are men with multiple partners.
"Encouraging people to know their partners, this is key right because if you fall ill it's going to be very important to be able to tell the health department who you've been with so people can come forward and be vaccinated," said Dr. Passalacqua.
The doctor says the monkeypox vaccine and testing is available.
She says if you see fluid-filled blisters, especially on your genitals, you should get to a doctor.
The CDC says there are now over 18,000 monkeypox cases in the United States.
However, Dr. Passalacqua hasn't seen one yet.
The CDC says there are currently 90 monkeypox cases in Connecticut.