Monkeypox cases in Oregon and Washington on the rise

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:48 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Monkeypox cases in Oregon and Washington are on the rise. As of Tuesday, 93 cases were reported in Oregon and 210 cases in Washington. Doctors don’t want to cause alarm but they are encouraging people to be informed about the disease.

Several thousand doses of vaccine have been made available for Oregon and Southwest Washington but supply is not keeping up with demand. Doctors are prioritizing high-risk groups which include those who have been exposed to the disease and men who have sex with other men.

Prolonged skin-to-skin contact is one of the primary ways monkeypox spreads, but the disease can also be spread through contact with the bedding or clothing of an infected person. More rarely, it can be spread through large respiratory droplets. Dr. Katie Sharff, Chief of Infectious Disease for Kaiser Permanente Northwest, says, “The risk of contracting it while riding the bus or trying on clothes in a clothing store is extraordinarily low and not something people should fear.”

Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. In the second phase, patients develop skin lesions. Doctors say these lesions are painful and can be extremely debilitating.

Before 1972, people in the United States were vaccinated against smallpox. If you received that vaccine, Dr. Sharff says it may provide some degree of protection against Monkeypox, however, the effectiveness of vaccines goes down over time. So it’s recommended that you still get the vaccine that’s currently being offered.