TRENTON – Monkeypox contributed to the death of a New Jersey resident last month, state health officials said Monday.

It’s the first reported death in the state tied to monkeypox, and the 10th in the United States, since the current outbreak began in the spring. There have been 49 people hospitalized in the state due to the viral infection.

Officials released few details, citing privacy concerns. The individual lived in North Jersey, had a history of underlying medical conditions and was confirmed to have had monkeypox in mid-September.

There have been 754 reported cases of monkeypox in New Jersey this year, according to the state Department of Health. That includes 184 cases in Hudson County, 128 in Essex County, 71 in Union County, and 70 in Bergen County.

Nationally there have been 28,657 cases, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data as of Friday. New Jersey has had the eighth most cases among the states.

The state Department of Health said cases of monkeypox have been declining over the past weeks in New Jersey, which is also the case nationally. Cases nationwide peaked at an average of around 450 per day in early August but had fallen to under 30 a day as of the start of November.

In New Jersey, cases averaged 88 per week from late July through mid-August. Since late September they have averaged around seven cases a week, including three per week most recently.

But state officials say the disease is still circulating and can cause severe illness or death.

They say those at risk of severe disease include people with weakened immune systems, children especially those under 8 years old, pregnant or nursing people, and individuals with certain conditions that affect skin integrity.

Ninety-six percent of recorded cases have been among males, according to the state data.

State officials recommend that individuals most at risk get the two-dose monkeypox vaccine to help prevent infections or reduce the severity of the disease. Free vaccines are available at vaccination sites throughout the state.

To date, 14,255 people have gotten monkeypox vaccines, including 3,812 people in Hudson County, 2,101 in Essex County, 1,399 in Bergen County, and 1,222 in Monmouth County.

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Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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