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South Carolina latest state to record monkeypox infections

With its first cases reported Friday, South Carolina became the 35th state to record monkeypox infections during the current U.S. outbreak. File Photo Courtesy U.S. Centers for Disease Control
With its first cases reported Friday, South Carolina became the 35th state to record monkeypox infections during the current U.S. outbreak. File Photo Courtesy U.S. Centers for Disease Control

July 8 (UPI) -- South Carolina on Friday joined a growing list of U.S. states reporting cases of monkeypox, which had reached 700 infections nationwide, according to federal health officials.

Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported the state's first two monkeypox cases, including one in the state's Midlands region and another in its Lowcountry area.

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The affected individuals will be monitored until they are no longer infectious to prevent spread of the virus and will be isolated if needed, state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said.

"We understand residents have concerns about how this virus might impact our state," she said. "We expected infections to eventually occur in South Carolina as part of the larger international outbreak, which is why DHEC has been planning a response for weeks."

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Monkeypox, while a potentially serious viral illness, does not spread easily and Bell said state health officials believe the risk to the general population "remains low at this time."

It can be spread through prolonged face-to-face contact, skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, and through contaminated materials, such as clothing or linens of an infected person.

Monkeypox, which is endemic to several West African nations, was first diagnosed amid the current global outbreak in a Massachusetts man mid-May.

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With the new cases, South Carolina became the 35th state to record at least one infection during the current U.S. outbreak.

California leads the country with 136 cases while New York has logged 131 cases as of Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are currently 700 cases nationwide, the CDC reported, up from 560 cases on Tuesday.

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Connecticut reported its first case this week, and New Jersey reported its first case on June 21.

The United States last week announced efforts to boost the availability of monkeypox vaccines and testing.

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