Human Monkeypox Virus (hMPXV) was recently listed as a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) and on Thursday, Aug. 4, the spread of hMPXV was declared a public health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
As of Aug. 2, Oregon has recorded 72 cases, and nationwide 7,510 cases are confirmed. Wasco and Sherman counties have no currently reported cases, however it is important for our community to be aware of this emerging disease.
Though it may be alarming to hear of another virus spreading, hMPXV is not like COVID.
hMPXV is a rash illness that can look like pimples or blisters and can occur on any part of the body, including inside the mouth and anus. While the infection is usually not severe (the death rate is very low), it can be extremely painful and take 2-4 weeks to resolve.
Symptoms nearly always include a rash, and may include fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion, and usually start within 5-21 days of being exposed. There are treatments to help if symptoms are severe, and there is a vaccine, JYNNEOS, to prevent disease if you’ve been exposed or at high risk to get exposed.
NCPHD has a limited number of JYNNEOS doses and can help determine if someone is eligible.
Overall hMPXV does not spread easily. Most commonly it spreads through close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus, including through sex, cuddling, massage, and kissing. It can also spread through contact with towels, clothing, or other objects used by someone with the virus. Less commonly, hMPXV can spread with close, face-to-face contact that lasts at least three hours.
Anyone can contract hMPXV through close contact with someone who is infected. It is not limited to one community or another. In this particular outbreak, men who have sex with men happen to be the first socially- connected group that has been affected, but there is nothing specific about this group that puts someone at higher risk for getting the virus.
If you have symptoms that concern you or believe you have been exposed to hMPXV please call the provider you see for sexual health issues. If you don’t have a provider please call NCPHD at 541-506-2600.
For more information on hMPXV, please visit NCPHD’s website here:
The Oregon Health Authority’s webpage here,
And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage here.
The criteria for qualifying for the vaccine are listed here.
(For more information, please contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600, visit us on the web at www.ncphd.org or find us on Facebook.)