First potential monkeypox case recorded in Oregon

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 2:44 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – The Oregon Health Authority is reporting the first case of potential case of hMPXV, otherwise known as the human version of the monkeypox virus.

The OHA says the person with the virus is an adult male who recently traveled to a community with confirmed cases. He is currently isolated and is following recommendations from public health officials, OHA says.

“hMPXV 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.”

The symptoms are similar to a cold or flu. People might get a fever, have swollen lymph nodes or a cough but Legacy’s Chief Medical Officer Lori Farrell says there’s one main sign to look out for.

“Rash is the big differentiating feature from colds or flus,” Farrell says. “So, pox-like, which is a blistering-type rash, will be the main thing. Anyone who comes in with those cold symptoms but the rash, or calls in with those symptoms, that is when we’d be thinking of monkeypox. Also if they have travel exposure.”

The OHA confirmed on Thursday they are working alongside CDC, local public health and the patient’s health care provider to take appropriate actions with possibly exposed people.

OHA noted hMPXV is in the same group of viruses as the smallpox but it’s not the smallpox. Leman added, while there is a vaccine for the virus, there’s no need to go out and get one right now, especially because there’s been no confirmed evidence of transmission in Oregon. Currently there are 84 cases across 18 states with no recorded deaths.