Health and Wellness

Monkeypox cases found in county

Two cases of Monkeypox (hMPXV) have been identified in Lane County residents. By press time Tuesday an epidemiological link between this second case and the first has not been established, according to Lane County Public Health. Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. Illness could be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus (chickenpox). Most infections last two to four weeks. After testing the first patient at the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory, the virus sample has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for final confirmation. The patient is an adult and did not have a travel history to an area with known cases. “The number of monkeypox cases has been growing in the U.S.,” said Dr. Lisandra Guzman, Lane County deputy public health officer. “We know there are likely other cases. We are encouraging doctors to consider this in people who have a rash or skin lesion that looks like monkeypox.” LCPH is working closely with the Oregon Health Authority and working to identify and notify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while they were infectious. Monkeypox is typically spread by skin-to-skin contact. Since May, 396 monkeypox cases have been identified in the United States, the first Lane County case having been the second in Oregon. There have been no deaths related to this outbreak. Epidemiologic investigation of these cases is ongoing. Monkeypox is transmitted person-to-person through direct skin-to-skin contact, having contact with an infectious rash, through body fluids or through respiratory secretions. Such contact often occurs during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex. While many initial cases were identified amongst men who have sex with men, it is important to note that anyone can get monkeypox, according to Lane County Public Health. People can take basic steps to prevent the spread of monkeypox. If you have an unexplained rash, sores or other symptoms, see your health care provider — if you don’t have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you. Keep the rash covered and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out. Standard household cleaners and detergents are effective at cleaning environmental surfaces and linens.