At 122 cases, D.C. has the highest rate of monkeypox per capita in US says Health Director

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed the District's monkeypox outbreak after more than 120 cases have been reported. This makes D.C. the city with the highest rate of monkeypox per capita in the United States. 

According to data released by the D.C. Department of Health, there are 122 cases in the nation's capital. Cases in Maryland are at 37 and at 44 in Virginia.

D.C. has received 8,300 doses of the JYENNOS vaccine and administered approximately 2,600 doses, with additional vaccinations occurring this week, health officials say.  Officials say contact tracing was used to identify more than 459 close contacts in the District of people infected with monkeypox and has offered them vaccination appointments.

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The District has launched a pre-registration page online for the monkeypox vaccine. Eligibility is currently limited to individuals considered most at risk of exposure.

To be considered eligible for the monkeypox vaccination, persons must be a District resident, 18 years of age or older and:

- Gay, bisexual, and other men 18 and older who have sex with men and have had multiple (more than one) sexual partners or any anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days; or

- Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men; or

- Sex workers (of any sexual orientation/gender); or

- Staff (of any sexual orientation/gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)


Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with bodily fluids or monkeypox lesions/rash.

Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people, including respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, during intimate physical contact like sex, kissing or hugging, as well as touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox, such as bedding and towels.

The initial symptoms of monkeypox often include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash and lesions on the skin.

Although the majority of cases do not require hospitalization, monkeypox is dangerous, highly contagious, and uncomfortable. While monkeypox can spread to anyone, the majority of current cases in the District are in men who have sex with men.