hMPXV (Monkeypox) cases identified in Oregon and Idaho

As of July 12, 2022, there are five confirmed cases of hMPXV (also known as Monkeypox) in Oregon, with another seven presumptive, and one confirmed in Idaho. hMPXV is a rare disease caused by infection with the hMPXV virus. hMPXV virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. hMPXV symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and hMPXV is rarely fatal.

Symptoms of hMPXV can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
    • The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
    • Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
  • Symptoms usually appear one to two weeks after infection.

How is hMPXV spread?

hMPXV spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. In addition, pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids is another way hMPXV spreads. It’s also possible for people to get hMPXV from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

hMPXV can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

How can hMPXV be prevented?

People should take the following steps to prevent getting hMPXV:

  • Avoid close, skin- to- skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like hMPXV.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of person with hMPXV.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with hMPXV.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with hMPXV.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with hMPXV.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread hMPXV virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.

If you are sick with hMPXV:

  • Isolate at home
  • If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when possible.

CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been diagnosed with or exposed to hMPXV and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to hMPXV.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  • See a healthcare provider if you notice a new or unexplained rash or other hMPXV symptoms.
  • Remind the healthcare provider that hMPXV is circulating.
  • Avoid close contact (including intimate physical contact) with others until a healthcare provider examines you.
  • Avoid close contact with pets or other animals until a healthcare provider examines you.
  • If you’re waiting for test results, follow the same precautions.
  • If your test result is positive, stay isolated until your rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.

For more information:

  • Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.
  • Oregon Health Authority Monkeypox webpage here.
  • Investigative Guidelines for healthcare providers available here.