PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The first potential case of the monkeypox virus has been detected in Oregon, health officials reported Thursday.
The Oregon Health Authority said the man with the “probable” case of hMPXV – the human version of the monkeypox virus – had traveled to a community with confirmed cases, but did not specify where that was.
The man has been isolated and OHA said it is working with the Centers for Disease Control, his doctors and local health officials to determine who may be at risk for exposure. Officials did not release any further information about the man.
The symptoms for hMPXV include fever, headache and muscle aches, followed by a rash, often on the face and limbs. Despite the virus belonging to the same family as smallpox, it is much harder to contract and is not as severe, according to the CDC.
OHA said there is little cause for concern as people are usually infected after handling wild animals and it is not as infectious as COVID-19.
“hMPXV does not spread easily between people, so the risk to other people is generally very low,” said Dr. Richard Leman, Public Health Physician with OHA. “Unlike COVID-19, which can be spread easily from person to person through the air over several feet of space, hMPXV spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. Less commonly, it can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact.”
A vaccine used to treat smallpox can be used to protect people with a high risk of exposure to someone infected with hMPXV, officials said.
Eighty-four cases of the monkeypox virus have been detected in 18 U.S. states after an outbreak began earlier in 2022, but no deaths have been reported in the nation. The states with the most cases are California with 21 and New York with 17.
Oregon Health Authority has more information about the monkeypox virus on its website.
KOIN 6 Reporter Jenny Young contributed to this story.