As monkeypox cases continue to rise in Oregon, the state is working to control the outbreak before it becomes a statewide pandemic.
State health official Dr. Dean Seidlinger said the Oregon Department of Health is working with information and limited numbers to slow the spread of a virus that has hitherto mostly affected gay and bisexual men. said it is working to spread a vaccine for
As of Thursday, there were 95 confirmed cases in Oregon, 92 of them men. The three infected women are among the latest confirmed cases in the state.
Coos County announced its first case last week. Dr. Eric Gleason, assistant director of Coos Health and Wellness, said no additional cases were found in the county.
Sidelinger said that while another pandemic following COVID-19 has caused anxiety, monkeypox is an entirely different kind of virus.
“As we continue to recover from COVID 19, it may seem like too much to have another infection,” Seidlinger said. “The good news is that while monkeypox is a serious public health concern, it is not another COVID-19. has not been released, and we do not recommend vaccination of the general public.”
Although the virus has mostly spread to the LGBTQ community, Seidlinger stressed that anyone can become infected if they come into close contact with an infected person.
“Now, in Oregon and other states, most cases of monkeypox are diagnosed in gay and bisexual men,” he said. , the virus is spreading further among those groups. ”
Sidelinger said in response to the growing number of cases and growing concern, the OHA will launch a new website dedicated to the virus. On this page, we share information about tests, vaccines and treatments, and provide answers to many questions people may have.
He added that the state recently announced that people being tested and vaccinated for the virus can now do so at no out-of-pocket cost.
Oregon’s cases span seven counties and are among 9,500 cases in the United States and 31,800 cases worldwide.
“Anyone can be diagnosed with monkeypox, but it’s not a gay disease,” Sidelinger said.
Almost all cases of monkeypox are diagnosed after close skin-to-skin contact with the patient. It can be passed through contact with clothing, sheets, or towels used by an infected person, but this is rare.
“Monkeypox can start with fever, pain, and a sore throat, but it can also start with a rash or sore,” Sidelinger said. “If you have symptoms that you think you have monkeypox, call your healthcare provider.”
Monkeypox vaccines are effective and have a long track record of success. However, the supply is very limited. Since the first case he was diagnosed in June, he has received 6,803 doses in Oregon and currently has less than 50 doses available at the OHA. There are several vaccines available in individual county health departments throughout the state, but they are only given to those most at risk.
Sidelinger said the state is focused on giving the first dose to those in rick, with a second dose often waiting up to three months. Only the highest-risk or pediatric cases that have never occurred in Oregon will receive a second dose four weeks later as recommended.
“Anyone can get monkeypox,” Sidelinger said. “If you are attending an event that may involve close skin-to-skin contact, plan ahead.”
Katie Cox, executive director of the Equity Institute, which reaches out to gay and lesbian communities in Portland, said there is a lot of fear and confusion in the LGBTQ community.
“I hear many in my community expressing confusion about hPMX4,” she said. “Some people I spoke to didn’t even know there was a vaccine available. Will it be something different?”
Like Sidelinger, Cox stresses that the virus is not a gay disease, and feels the focus should be on action rather than orientation.
“We need to focus on risky behavior, not identity,” said Cox. “Anyone with skin can get this disease. Right now, it’s not the if, but when the if will start affecting other communities. Only gay, bisexual and queer men.” is not in skin-to-skin contact.”
Cox urged state and federal governments to help groups like her reach out to those most at risk.
“Information, health, access to risks and vaccine availability are not widely known,” she said. “It is therefore critical that the more agile and community-connected community health agencies receive immediate support.”