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NYC is 'epicenter' of monkeypox outbreak as cases surge

Monkeypox cases are surging in New York City after health officials reported that 141 residents tested positive for the orthopoxvirus on Wednesday, the genus to which the disease belongs.

"The virus spreads via skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual," the New York Post writes, including — though not exclusively — through sex. Symptoms of the virus are similar to the flu, and often involve a fever along with painful lesions on the body that turn into scabs over the weeks.

Across the U.S., there have been at least 605 cases, with the Big Apple's taking up almost 20 percent of the total. In the city, officials believe that the new 50 percent uptick in cases stems from June's Pride month celebrations, which brought in thousands of tourists to the region.

Health officials are actively working to roll out vaccines. "The health department expounded Thursday upon its just-revealed Phase 1 strategy to deploy the coveted vaccine to the most at-risk New Yorkers," NBC New York reports. This all comes after the city's health department experienced a technical glitch, making thousands of monkeypox vaccine appointments available.

At the time of publication, appointments are on a first come first serve basis. Those who need assistance or have questions concerning their vaccine appointment can call 929-564-8344 or visit nyc.gov for more information.