(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — There are now three cases of monkeypox in Erie County.

The Erie County Department of Health on Monday, Aug. 15, announced that two new cases were confirmed in the second week of August.

According to the department of health announcement, monkeypox is a contagious disease caused by the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. On Aug. 4, the United States Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, muscle aches, backache, and a general feeling of discomfort and exhaustion. Within about three days, a rash or blisters develop. That rash can appear anywhere on the body. According to the department of health, the rash “goes through several stages before crusting and falling off” in about two to four weeks.

While contagious, monkeypox virus does not spread easily between people — it is spread by “close, intimate contact” or by touching objects (like fabrics) recently used by someone with monkeypox, the health department said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests three steps for preventing monkeypox: avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox; avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used; wash your hands often.

Vaccines are available for free in Erie County for people who meet eligibility qualifications. For information on testing sites and vaccine eligibility for residents of Erie County, contact the department of health by calling (814) 451-6700 option 2 or via email at ecdhinfo@eriecountypa.gov.

For news delivered right to yousubscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com’s breaking, daily news & severe weather email lists

The CDC recommends vaccines for people who have been diagnosed with, exposed to, or who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox (including those who are sexually active with multiple or anonymous partners).