Monkeypox not yet reported in JoCo

Thankfully, the monkeypox virus, AKA hMPXV, is nowhere near as infectious or deadly as COVID-19, but with symptoms that can be quite painful and debilitating, caution should be taken to avoid contracting it.
The Oregon Health Authority has an informational page on monkeypox, which was put up Aug. 11 and can be found at: www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/monkeypox.
Below find a summary of OHA’s information regarding monkeypox.
“Monkeypox (hMPXV) is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is related to the smallpox virus,” according to OHA. “While generally less severe and contagious than smallpox, monkeypox can be an unpleasant and sometimes serious illness. Prior to 2022, monkeypox was not often seen in the United States, though it is routinely seen elsewhere in the world. The disease is spread primarily through close, prolonged, often skin-to-skin physical contact with people who have monkeypox symptoms including rash and lesions.”
One common misconception about monkeypox is that it is akin to a sexually-transmitted disease. While members of the LGBTQ+ community makes up the vast majority of monkeypox cases, OHA stresses that anyone can be infected.
“Most cases of monkeypox have been detected among gay or bisexual men or men who report having sex with other men.”
As of Aug. 31, there have been 169 total cases of monkeypox in Oregon; none in Josephine or Jackson counties.
Of these, 100 cases were confirmed and 69 were presumptive; 119 were reported in Multnomah County; and 164 were male.
To prevent the spread of monkeypox, OHA recommends the following: “Be aware of your health, don’t have intimate contact or sex with others if you have any symptoms of monkeypox, ask potential partners about illnesses or rashes, and consider limiting partners you engage in intimate contact or sex unless you are at least two weeks after your second vaccine.
“If you get vaccinated against monkeypox, please know that the first dose only partially protects you, so until you complete the vaccination series (two doses) you still need to take other precautions to prevent getting monkeypox.”
In addition to skin-to-skin contact such as sex, cuddling, massage and kissing, OHA asserts that the spread of monkeypox can also be done through “contact with towels, clothing or other objects that have been in contact with monkeypox lesions,” but it is noted that this means of transmission is much less common than interpersonal contact.
What are the symptoms and what should you do if you exhibit them?
*Monkeypox may start with fever, achiness, or sore throat, but may also start with rash or sores.
*The rash often looks like pimples or blisters at the start. It may be located on or near your genitals (penis, testicles, labia and vagina) or anus. It could also be on other areas such as your hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.
*The rash will eventually get firmer and may be very painful.
*If you’re feeling sick and notice any new rashes – especially on the genitals or around the anus – avoid close skin-to-skin contact and talk to a health care provider (or call 211 if you don’t have one).
*Before the appointment, let your provider know that you think you might have monkeypox and cover any lesions you have. Ask your provider about monkeypox testing.
*If you have symptoms that you think might be monkeypox, talk to your provider about testing.
According to the CDC, “Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.
“Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.”