Oregon Confirms Six Cases Of Monkeypox

Oregon has now recorded six monkeypox cases, raising concerns about the possibility of “another public health emergency.”

According to Dr. Tim Menza, a senior health advisor with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the latest two cases were identified Thursday morning in Washington County, causing health officials to expect more in the coming weeks.

In response to the new cases, Menza opened a press conference about the disease on Thursday, where he acknowledged the challenge of facing another public health emergency.

“I point this out not to say that men who have sex with men are the only people at risk for (the virus), but that right now our priority should be empowering men who have sex with men and the larger LGBTQIA+ and queer community and their health care providers with information, testing, prevention and treatment strategies,” Menza said in a statement.

OHA will henceforth allow health care providers to send monkeypox tests directly to the Oregon state public health lab without prior approval.

While Oregon’s supply of vaccines has been limited, federal allocations to OHA have been arriving in recent days and are expected to increase. Menza hopes the vaccines could expand beyond people exposed to the virus.

The federal government announced last week that it would be releasing more doses of the monkeypox vaccine.

“As we have more vaccines available, there’s also the opportunity to vaccinate folks who may have attended events or traveled to places where transmission is likely or has already been documented," Menza said.

The state is offering antiviral treatment to people with or at risk for severe disease. This includes pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and atopic dermatitis, and children below 8 years old.

Aside from the new Washington County cases, there are currently three cases in Lane County and one known case in Multnomah County, the first one identified in the state. No deaths have been reported thus far. 

With private labs beginning to offer testing in the coming weeks, diagnostic tests will become more accessible for everyone.

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