Oregon reports first probable case of monkeypox
Oregon public health officials on Thursday, June 16, reported what is likely the first monkeypox infection in the state.
Testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being conducted for confirmation of the case, which Oregon Health Authority officials said was "probable."
The infected person, an adult male, had traveled to a community with confirmed cases, officials said. He is isolating and following recommendations from public health officials and medical providers, according to officials.
"OHA is working closely with the CDC, local public health and the patient's health care providers to ensure appropriate actions are taken to identify individuals at potential risk for exposure," officials said.
As of Friday, June 17, the CDC said there have been 113 confirmed cases of hMPXV, the human version of the monkeypox virus. Officials nationally continue to closely monitor an outbreak of the virus, which has been reported in 20 states and Washington D.C. The first case in the United States was reported in mid-May in Massachusetts. No deaths have been attributed to the virus in the United States.
Dr. Richard Leman, a public health physician with the OHA, stressed that unlike COVID-19, which spreads easily between people within several feet of each other through the air, the monkeypox virus is harder to spread.
"hMPXV does not spread easily between people, so the risk to other people is generally very low," Leman said.
The virus spreads between people "primarily through direct close contact with infectious sores, scabs or bodily fluids," he said. "Less commonly, it can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact."
Sexual partners of an ill person are at increased risk, officials said.
Initial symptoms of the virus often include fever, headache and muscle aches and usually emerge within two weeks after exposure, officials said. Those symptoms are followed within one to three days by a rash, often starting on the face and spreading to the limbs. The rash starts with flat patches that then form large, firm bumps, which then fill with fluid or pus. The bumps then scab and fall off, usually over two to four weeks.
Monkeypox is a rare virus in the same group as smallpox, however, it is much less severe. It is endemic to West Africa, where historically people have contracted it after handling infected wild animals.
Federal health officials say gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men have since May made up a "high number" of cases that have been reported in countries where the virus is not typically found, including the United States.
Most infected people are able to recover at home without any special treatment, health officials say. People who develop severe cases or are at high-risk and exposed to someone infected with the virus could receive antiviral treatments developed for smallpox. Such treatments won't be accessible to the general public, officials say.
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