PHOENIX (May 19, 2023)—Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has confirmed a case of mpox in a Maricopa County resident, the first case since January. This comes at a time when other jurisdictions around the country are seeing new clusters of mpox and the CDC is warning of the possibility of another increase in cases during the summer. MCDPH is encouraging everyone at risk for mpox to get vaccinated, including completing the 2-dose vaccine series as soon as possible and avoiding exposure by being aware of symptoms and risk factors.
“Like we see with other vaccines, while vaccination may not prevent disease completely, it will reduce the severity of disease,” said Dr. Nick Staab, medical epidemiologist at MCDPH. “Last summer’s mpox outbreak led to many hospitalizations and some deaths in the U.S. People being aware of the risk of mpox in our community and getting vaccinated can prevent severe disease and decrease the spread.”
While the individual who was diagnosed was fully vaccinated, they had mild symptoms and are recovering. New cases of mpox continue to present in the same at-risk population that was observed in last year’s outbreak. There is plenty of vaccine for those who are at-risk; MCDPH and its partners are able to offer the higher-dose injection in the back of the arm again, as well as the smaller—and equally effective—dose offered in the forearm. Vaccines are available through MCDPH immunization clinics and a variety of community partners.
Individuals should be aware of the risk of mpox and other health risks associated with summertime activities in Maricopa County. MCDPH recommends taking precautionary measures like using sunscreen, following heat safety tips, and staying up to date on vaccines and ways to prevent sexually-transmitted infections. Available vaccine and treatment for mpox means that spread should be controllable, and cases can be managed appropriately.
“Have fun and be healthy while avoiding the summer heat,” said Dr. Staab. “Know your risk for mpox and STIs and get vaccinated. And don’t forget the sunscreen.”
Anyone who develops mpox symptoms should seek medical care. Symptoms include a rash on any part of the body, like the genitals, hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Sometimes people have flu-like symptoms before the rash. Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. In some cases, a rash is the only symptom experienced.
Other symptoms of mpox can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches and backache
- Respiratory symptoms (for example, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- People may experience all or only a few symptoms.
See a listing of MCDPH’s community vaccine events, prevention recommendations, and where to find other vaccine providers at Maricopa.gov/mpox.