Monkeypox in Oregon | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly


Monkeypox, a viral disease that causes fever, headaches and rashes, has been discovered in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority reported its first known case in mid-June, and on July 1 Lane County reported two presumed cases of monkeypox.

Lane County Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis told KOIN he’s expecting a few more cases in the county. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discovered monkeypox in 33 states since it first started spreading in Europe and the United States in May. The disease is endemic in parts of Africa and infections usually stem from animal bites.

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Monkeypox cells photographed by NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland. - COURTESY OF NIAID

  • Courtesy of NIAID
  • Monkeypox cells photographed by NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“hMPXV [monkeypox] does not spread easily between people, so the risk to other people is generally very low,” said Dr. Richard Leman, public health physician with OHA. “Unlike COVID-19, which can be spread easily from person to person through the air over several feet of space, hMPXV spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. Less commonly, it can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact.”

It’s not the first time monkeypox found its way to the U.S. In 2003 47 confirmed cases of monkeypox occurred in six midwestern states. The CDC tied that outbreak to an import of animals from Ghana that spread the illness to prairie dogs. The latest outbreak is the widest spread, with 564 cases, according to the CDC.

Thankfully the disease is rarely fatal and there have been no reported deaths from the disease. The vaccine JYNNEOS protects against monkeypox and smallpox, and the Department of Health and Human Services is expanding access to at-risk populations.

“Within days of the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the United States, we quickly began deploying vaccines and treatment to help protect the American public and limit the spread of the virus,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “While monkeypox poses minimal risk to most Americans, we are doing everything we can to offer vaccines to those at high-risk of contracting the virus. This new strategy allows us to maximize the supply of currently available vaccines and reach those who are most vulnerable to the current outbreak.”  

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