Public Health: Local transmission of monkeypox 'likely' in King County

Health officials say a local transmission of monkeypox is "likely" in King County.

Monkeypox cases are steadily rising around the world. As of July 6, the CDC reports 7,000 cases globally and 560 in the U.S.

Public Health - Seattle & King County says they have identified nine cases in the county, but patients reported they did not travel during the time they would have been exposed, suggesting to health officials that the virus was transmitted locally.

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"We expect to see additional cases locally as the outbreak grows in the US and globally," said public health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin. "We are working to limit the impact on our community, collaborating with a strong network of community-based organizations to share information so that people can quickly recognize if they develop a rash or other flu-like symptoms, limit close contact if symptoms develop, and get checked out right away."

Monkeypox is characterized by rashes and lesions, and spreads through direct physical contact with them. The virus cannot travel through the air, unlike COVID-19, and the infections are rarely fatal. People with monkeypox typically have flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and a painful rash, but recover in 2–4 weeks.

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There’s a lot of information circulating with the growing international monkeypox outbreak. So far, health officials said there’s no evidence of the virus spreading locally.

The disease can be more dangerous for immunocompromised people, children, people with a history of eczema or people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Public Health says they are connecting with patients to identify close contacts and possible exposure, as well as locations or events where an exposure occurred.

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The Jynneos vaccine can prevent monkeypox, but due to limited national supply, the CDC is allocating doses to areas with the highest case rates. King County has comparatively fewer cases to other states and regions, so they are not a priority.

For more information, visit the Public Health website here.