Oregon health officials confirm the state’s second case of pediatric monkeypox

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A second pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV) has been identified in the state, Oregon health officials confirmed Wednesday.

Local public health officials have investigated the case and confirm that the case is not associated with a school, child care or other public setting.

“Cases of monkeypox in children have occurred across the country during the national outbreak, and unfortunately Oregon is no exception,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. “As we said earlier, this virus can affect anyone.”

Monkeypox is spread primarily through close skin-to-skin contact. Most often during the current outbreak, this has been through intimate or sexual contact. Infection has also occurred during close skin-to-skin contact with the lesions of an individual with monkeypox through a caregiver, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caring for another person.

Much less commonly, monkeypox can be spread through contact with towels, clothing, or other items that have been in contact with monkeypox lesions. Large respiratory droplets or oral fluids that can result from prolonged face-to-face contact can also transmit the virus, but this is uncommon.

To protect patient privacy, OHA does not disclose the child’s gender, age, country of residence, or how the child is believed to have contracted the disease. A pediatric case is defined as a person with the virus in the age range of 0-17 years.

The new pediatric case is among a total of 204 suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Oregon as of Wednesday, with illness onset ranging from June 7 to Sept. 13. The cases are in nine counties: 141 in Multnomah; 24 in Washington; 22 in Lane; six each in Clackamas and Marion; two in Colombia; and one each in Coos, Hood River and Union.

About 9.5% of cases identified as Mexican and 8.9% of cases identified as other Hispanic or Latino a/x/e. The number of cases in South and Central America is too low to calculate a percentage.

The Oregon child was tested for monkeypox on September 14 and the test results were reported to public health on September 19. The local public health authority, with support from OHA, is conducting a case investigation and contact tracing to determine if there have been other exposures. During these investigations, public health provides guidance on how to avoid spreading the virus to others and offers vaccines to close contacts.

Sidelinger emphasized that the risk of monkeypox spreading in school settings is low because the most common way of person-to-person transmission is direct contact with a rash, scabs or body fluids of a person with the virus. It is not easily spread unless there is prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

OHA continues to encourage monkeypox vaccination for anyone who expects to have or has had recent, direct skin-to-skin contact with at least one other person and who knows other people in their social circles or communities who have had monkeypox.

Oregon has distributed or is in the process of distributing more than 8,870 vials — about 44,350 doses — of the Jynneos vaccine and 340 courses of the investigational antiviral drug known as flow – or TPOXX – from June 20. According to OHA’s ALERT Immunization Information System database, 8,800 doses of Jynneos have been administered to date. More than that have been administered, but those 8,800 doses are what have been administered to ALERT so far.

OHA continues to work with its local partners to redistribute any leftover doses they may have to ensure a continuous, steady flow of vaccines to the communities where they are needed most.

On September 20, Oregon received its next federal allocation of 1,220 vials, giving the state a total of 1,428 vials, or up to 7,140 doses, to continue meeting initial and second dose recommendations.

People who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going to be screened. The provider may recommend testing for monkeypox.

Those who do not have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 or their local public health authority for help finding a clinic or health care provider.

For more information about monkeypox and Oregon’s response to the outbreak, visit OHA’s monkeypox (hMPXV) website.

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