By Alicia Roberts

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are more than 5,800 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox across the United States. Cases of monkeypox continue to climb, including in our area.

Since it spreads through close contact, people are concerned about the smallest pimple or lesion.

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Health officials are reporting a growing number of monkeypox cases across the Delaware Valley, with Pennsylvania and New Jersey ranking 8th and 9th in the country for new cases.

As of Tuesday night, Pennsylvania has reported 173 cases, followed by New Jersey with 160, and Delaware with 5.

“It is a transmissible disease that everyone has to be aware of,” Temple Health physician Dr. Delana Wardlaw said.

County by county, Philadelphia has the most so far with 82, followed by Bucks with eight, Delaware County with six, Montgomery with five, and Chester with one.

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While the CDC has two vaccines for monkeypox, supplies are limited and shots are being saved for those with known exposure. Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties all confirm they have doses available for those patients most at risk.

Monkeypox is spread by person-to-person contact which Dr. Wardlaw describes as “close person-to-person contact, meaning that you are hugging, you’re kissing.”

She also cautions that anyone with open lesions can spread the virus and should self-isolate immediately.

“So if someone does have lesions on their hands, you don’t want to shake their hand, and if you see someone that has a rash you want to avoid contact with them,” Wardlaw said.

Dr. Wardlaw says the best way to prevent monkeypox and all viruses is proper hand washing, especially after being in public settings.

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How do you know if a lesion is monkeypox? Doctors say look for a rash with red bumps that first blister and then scab over.

Alicia Roberts