A second pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV) has been identified in the state, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) confirmed.
Local public health officials have investigated the case and confirm that the case is not linked to a school, child care or other community setting.
“Pediatric monkeypox cases have happened around the country during the nationwide outbreak, and unfortunately Oregon is no exception,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. “As we have stated previously, this virus can affect anyone.”
Monkeypox spreads primarily through close skin-to-skin contact. Most commonly 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 caregiving relationship, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caretaker of another person. Much less often, monkeypox could spread through contact with towels, clothing or other objects that have been in contact with monkeypox lesions. Large respiratory droplets or oral fluids that might come from prolonged face-to-face contact could also transmit the virus, but it is uncommon.
To protect patient confidentiality, OHA is not disclosing the child’s sex, age, county of residence or how the child is believed to have acquired the illness. A pediatric case is defined as someone with the virus in the 0-17 age range.
The new pediatric case is among a total, as of today, of 204 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Oregon, 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 Columbia; and one each in Coos, Hood River and Union. About 9.5% of cases identify as Mexican and 8.9% of cases identify as Other Hispanic or Latino a/x/e. Case counts for South American and Central American were too low to calculate a percent.
The Oregon child was tested for monkeypox Sept. 14 and the test results were reported to public health Sept. 19. The local public health authority, with OHA support, has been conducting case investigation and contact tracing to determine whether there are 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 risk of monkeypox spreading in school settings is low, since the most common means of person-to-person transmission is direct contact with the 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 vaccination against monkeypox for anyone who anticipates having, 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 tecovirimat – or TPOXX – since June 20. According to OHA’s ALERT Immunization Information System database, 8,800 Jynneos doses have been administered so far. More than that have been administrated, but those 8,800 doses are what’s been entered into ALERT thus far. OHA continues to work with its local partners to redistribute any leftover doses they may have to ensure a continued, steady flow of vaccines to communities where they’re most needed.
On Sept. 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 to meet initial and second dose recommendations.
People who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. The provider may recommend testing for monkeypox.
Those who don’t have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 or their local public health authority to get 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.