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Monkeypox outbreak: Oregon counties with active cases focus on contract tracing and prevention

WEBmonkeypox rashes image CDC.jpg
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Classical symptoms of monkeypox, or h-MPXV, include pimple-like lesions which present on face, hands, limbs, trunk and sometimes genitals. The virus symptoms also include fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes.

With monkeypox now declared a national public health emergency, Oregon counties with known cases are assessing their tools and tactics to limit spread of the virus.

monkeypox hand cells.jpg
An electron microscope image of a sample of human skin showing mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right.

Statewide, at least 75 cases of monkeypox are confirmed or presumed. Coos County just identified its first case. Multnomah County, which includes Portland, reports the lion’s share of cases at 43. As of August 5th, both Washington and Lane counties have identified 13 cases each.

Public Information Officer Devin Ashbridge said Lane County Public Health is working with each infected person, including an undisclosed number of females. Nearly 99% of nationwide monkeypox cases are male patients.

LCPH epidemiologists will determine who else might have been exposed and Ashbridge said, get them in for vaccinations. “We’re working closely with Oregon Health Authority," she said, "and we have been able to, locally, receive any and all vaccination supplies that we have requested here for Lane County.”

Ashbridge added that anyone who suspects exposure to monkeypox is urged to contact their county public health department. You can find information on h-MPXV prevention tactics and tool in Lane County, click here.

"Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, often skin to skin contact. And while that can include transmission during sex, it also could include direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids.”

Ashbridge also warned touching objects like clothing or towels used by someone with monkeypox or direct contact with a sick person’s respiratory secretions could be transmission vectors. Classical symptoms of monkeypox, or h-MPXV, include pimple-like lesions, fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes.

Coos Health and Wellness reported the first confirmed monkeypox case in Coos County on August 3. The public health department released a statement including symptoms to watch for and ways to prevent transmission of the virus.

Lane County Public Health has designated a team of nurses, disease intervention specialists, and other public health professionals to address the cluster of h-MPXV cases in the county.

LCPH has received vaccines from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and is using the recommended selection criteria to do targeted outreach to those who qualify for preventative vaccination and continues to vaccinate those who have been exposed as they are identified. The two vaccines currently available for monkeypox are Jynneos and ACAM2000, historically used to protect against smallpox.

Last report, there are over 7,500 cases of monkeypox in the U.S. On Thursday, the U.S. declared a public health emergency. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra advised Americans to take the disease seriously and “take responsibility” to prevent its transmission.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.