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Camden County Health Officials Contact Tracing After Resident Tests Positive For Monkeypox

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Camden County Health Department is contact tracing after a resident tested positive for monkeypox on Tuesday. Dr. Paschal Nwako, the county's health officer, said the virus is typically spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, but it can also spread by saliva when an infected person is in direct contact with someone for more than 15 minutes.

He said the close contacts they're most concerned about are people who live in the same household as an infected person.

"Monkeypox is not like COVID-19," Dr. Nwako said. "It's not highly contagious."

Dr. Nwako said only people in close contact with someone who contracted monkeypox is eligible for the two-dose vaccine.

He said Camden County is one of only six monkeypox vaccine hubs in the state.

"We are ready if we have to ramp up vaccination, just like we did with COVID-19," Dr. Nwako said.

Dr. Martin Topiel, Virtua Health's Medical Director of Infection Prevention, said while they're still learning about monkeypox, the virus is treatable.

"There's no reason to panic," Dr. Topiel said. "Certainly the majority of people resolve on their own after having an infection in our country."

On Wednesday, the CDC announced Labcorp would begin testing for monkeypox, doubling the nation's testing capacity.

"The ability of commercial labs to test for monkeypox is a key pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.  "This will not only increase testing capacity but will make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-lab relationships."

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