The spread of monkeypox virus (MPV) continues to increase nationally and in King County. This blog post provides up-to-date information about local cases.
Public Health continues to conduct case investigations, which are critical to help prevent the spread. When we can contact people who have MPV, we can offer the vaccine to their close contacts, including family and household members who may have been exposed, which can help prevent it from spreading more widely. . If you suspect that you have symptoms of monkeypox or that you have been exposed, contact your health care provider immediately for an evaluation. People with symptoms can also be seen at the Public Health Sexual Health Clinic.
The current situation
Cases of MPV in the United States and locally here in King County have increased over the past few weeks. As of August 24, 2022, 310 King County residents have been diagnosed with MPV, an increase from 48 cases in mid-July.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has MPV, including direct contact with a rash or lesions of someone with MPV, is at risk of becoming infected. Locally, most cases have been reported in adult men* who have reported close intimate contact, including sexual contact, with other men.
*This includes people who may identify as non-binary, gender queer or transgender.
A new case in a child
Recently, a case of MPV was identified in an infant in King County. The baby is currently hospitalized, stable and receiving treatment. The baby was likely exposed to monkeypox through an infected family member. This child did not get the infection from school, childcare or other public settings.
To protect privacy, we are not providing any additional information about this case.
In addition, three persons diagnosed with MPV were identified as cisgender females, including one individual who may have been exposed to the infection through sexual activity. Investigations into these cases are ongoing.
What does this latest information tell us about the broadcast?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us that MPV is an evolving infection and there is still much to learn about the virus in the context of this international outbreak. We know that MPV is spread through close, prolonged and/or direct contact with someone who is symptomatic with the virus. This may include skin-to-skin contact with lesions, contact with respiratory secretions, and shared items (such as clothing, bedding, drinks). Examples of close, prolonged and/or direct contact may vary depending on the interactions between individuals. For example, close and direct contact between a caregiver and a young child may include hugging, cuddling, kissing, holding, and feeding.
People with MPV who are isolated at home should take extra care to avoid contact with other family members and follow CDC guidelines for limiting transmission at home. In cases where a child is infected with MPV, families are advised to minimize the number of caregivers for the child and limit the child’s interaction between siblings, including sharing toys, clothing, linens and bedding. It is also important for the infected person to limit interactions with pets in the home as transmission of MPV to animals has been reported.
Are children at high risk for MPV infection?
No, the risk of MPV infection to the general public in King County including children is low. Cases among children nationally have been rare. However, as we have reported above, children in a household with a person with confirmed MPV can become infected if there is close, prolonged and/or direct contact, such as may occur during care.
While the risk is currently low, the CDC advises that child care centers and schools should continue to follow standard hygiene practices, including washing and disinfecting bedding and towels after each use (if used by more than one children), and always providing access to hand washing supplies. soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol).
If your child is sick and develops symptoms such as a rash, they should stay home and away from public settings including childcare or school and be checked by a health care provider before returning to daycare or school. Parents and guardians should immediately notify a school or child care provider if a child receives a positive lab result for MPV.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidance for schools and child care.
What school or child care administrators and parents can do to reduce risk
If you or someone in your school, childcare or family has been diagnosed with MPV, it is important to respond to Public Health calls to help identify possible contacts. There is a vaccine available for people who have had a known high-risk recent exposure, and this can prevent someone who has been exposed from getting sick and prevent further spread in the community.
Family members with MPV should follow these recommendations until MPV symptoms have resolved:
- Stay home (isolate) if MPV symptoms are present until evaluated by a health care provider; for those diagnosed with MPV, continue to stay at home until the rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after direct contact with the rash.
- Engage with members of the Public Health team to better understand the source of the infection; discuss questions and concerns with the Public Health team to obtain guidance on protecting other family members and close contacts from infection.
- Avoid close contact with others, especially family members who are immunocompromised; avoid contact with domestic pets and other animals; use gauze or a bandage to cover the rash to limit spread to others and the environment; use separate bathrooms, if possible.
- Postpone visits from friends, family or others without an essential need at home.
- Do not share potentially contaminated items (eg drinking glasses or eating utensils) or fabrics (eg sheets, clothing, towels) and routinely clean and disinfect shared surfaces
More information about MPV available at: www.kingcounty.gov/monkeypox
Originally published 8/24/22