07/26/22 Health Advisory: Monkeypox Update

Four doctors talking as seen from above. Two with white coats and 2 in scrubs.

We continue to monitor the monkeypox outbreak in Washington and the United States.

Report possible monkeypox cases immediately upon suspicion, as Washington State Department of Health (DOH) requires. Call the reporting line: (360) 414-5599 x 6431 during business hours, (360) 636-9595 after hours.. We will help you complete an intake form and review exposure guidelines to evaluate close contacts.

Monkeypox is rare and not often seen in the United States. It can cause a rash that looks like bumps, blisters or ulcers. Before the rash, some people have flu-like symptoms, like:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches and backache.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Chills.
  • Exhaustion.

Transmission

Monkeypox mostly spreads through close, skin-to-skin contact. It is far less likely to spread through the air. The virus can spread from person to person through:

  • Contact with the skin or body fluids of an infected person (including sexual contact).
  • Contact with virus-contaminated objects (like bedding or clothing).
  • Respiratory droplets during direct and prolonged face-to-face contact.

Infection control in healthcare settings

Healthcare workers who enter the room of a patient with suspected or confirmed monkeypox should wear:

  • Gown.
  • Gloves.
  • Eye protection (like goggles or a face shield that covers the front and sides of the face).
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health- (NIOSH-) approved particulate respirator equipped with N95 or higher filters.

Testing

Washington has no shortage of monkeypox tests. Ask your lab if they test for monkeypox. Labs currently testing for monkeypox:

Follow the lab’s specimen collection procedures.

Reporting

Report possible monkeypox cases immediately upon suspicion. Any patient who is tested for monkeypox is considered a suspect case, regardless of the index of suspicion. Call the reporting line: (360) 414-5599 x 6431 during business hours, (360) 636-9595 after hours.. We will help you complete an intake form and review exposure guidelines to evaluate close contacts..

Do not wait for test results to report. This allows us to start case investigation as soon as possible.

Vaccine

Washington received monkeypox vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to respond to this outbreak. These doses go to jurisdictions with high case counts. We work with DOH to offer close contacts JYNNEOS vaccine. Currently, only close contacts are eligible for the 2‑dose vaccine. We partner with local pharmacies to administer the vaccine to close contacts. As Washington receives more vaccine in the coming weeks, we will follow DOH guidance to offer vaccine to people in high‑risk groups.

Additionally, vaccine is available for the limited number of people in Washington who handle orthopoxvirus specimens in a lab setting. These workers will receive preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in accordance with Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidance

Therapeutics

No specific treatment for monkeypox exists. Many people infected with monkeypox virus will have a mild, self-limiting illness without specific therapy. In certain cases, antivirals developed for smallpox, like TPOXX, may be beneficial against monkeypox. After consulting with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consider for this treatment patients who:

  • Have severe disease.
  • Are at risk for severe disease.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Have unique complications.

The CDC has provided information on how to use and obtain TPOXX.

Questions?

Questions? Contact Cowlitz County Health & Human Services at (360) 414-5599.

More information