OHA Urges Mpox Vaccinations after 17 Cases Reported Since July 20

Posted on November 8, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is reminding people about the availability of a safe and effective vaccine against mpox following an increase in cases of the virus in recent months.

Seventeen mpox cases were reported to OHA and local public health authorities between July 20 and Oct. 31. This prompted state health officials to distribute a statewide advisory to health care providers this week, recommending they consider mpox when evaluating patients with mpox symptoms regardless of the patient’s  reported risk, vaccination status or level of community transmission. The advisory also states that testing patients with rashes, lesions or symptoms compatible with mpox should be considered part of comprehensive sexual health care.

Tim Menza, M.D., Ph.D., senior health adviser for OHA’s mpox response, said Oregon saw one to three mpox cases per month before mid-summer. While the recent increase in cases since July 20 is still lower than the 10 to 15 cases reported each week at the height of the 2022 outbreak, these cases show that mpox is still spreading in Oregon.

“We never declared the 2022 outbreak over because we were concerned about increases like the one we are seeing now,” Menza said. “And it gives us an opportunity to remind folks in the community that vaccination against mpox remains a valuable tool for reducing the risk of mpox infection.”

The JYNNEOS mpox vaccine is free and readily available to anyone in Oregon who wants to be vaccinated, regardless of insurance status. It is also highly effective: According to a study published in May in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the vaccine was found to be 75% effective for those receiving one dose and 86% effective for those who had two doses.

Mpox spreads primarily through close, skin-to-skin contact. Most often, it has spread through intimate or sexual contact, and during contact with the lesions of an individual with mpox through a caregiving relationship, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caretaker of another person.

Mpox symptoms can start between a few days to three weeks after contact. The most common are flu-like symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and feeling tired. Most people will develop a rash within a few days of the flu-like symptoms; some people only develop a rash, which may start on or near the penis, testicles, labia, vagina or anus. It may also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.

People who suspect they have mpox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. The provider may recommend testing for mpox. Those who don’t have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 for help finding a clinic or health care provider.

For more information about mpox in Oregon, visit OHA’s mpox website or the CDC’s mpox page, https://mpoxvaxmap.org/. Vaccination clinics can also be searched by ZIP code with the mpox vaccine locator tool at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Monkeypox/Pages/vaccine.aspx.

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