Monkeypox

Last reviewed: September 26, 2022 at 9:42 a.m.

Monkeypox virus (MPV) naturally infects small mammals in West and Central Africa. In humans, monkeypox will usually cause one or more painful sores, blisters, or rash. It also causes fever and flu-like symptoms in about fifty percent of cases. 

MPV is currently spreading between people primarily through direct skin-to-skin contact with infectious sores or body fluids. MPV may be transmitted by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, kissing, or sex. Respiratory transmission through brief casual interactions is very unlikely. MPV may also be spread by material contaminated by MPV sores, like bedding or clothing. Current evidence suggests that someone must have symptoms in order to spread the disease to others.

Find more basic MPV information on the Washington State Department of Health Monkeypox page.


Monkeypox (MPV) Cases in Whatcom County

Confirmed Cases3

Chart last updated: 09/26/2022
This table is updated Monday-Friday as new information becomes available.


Whatcom County-Specific Monkeypox Information

Testing

How can I get tested for MPV?

  • Anyone who has symptoms should talk to their doctor about testing. Only a healthcare provider can give you an MPV test. Testing is done on the sore itself. If you are a close contact of someone with MPV and you do not have any sores or lesions, talk to your doctor to be evaluated for risk and possible vaccination, and monitor yourself for symptoms. 
  • If you do not have a primary care doctor, contact us at 360-778-6100 or CommunicableDisease@whatcomcounty.us and our public health nurses can help refer you to a medical provider.

Vaccination

How many vaccines does Whatcom County have?

  • Whatcom County has received a limited amount of vaccine. We should get more vaccines soon. One dose helps prevent infection or severe symptoms, and a second dose makes that protection stronger and longer-lasting. So, for example, 40 doses is enough to fully vaccinate 20 people, and provide some degree of protection to 40 people. Most healthcare providers do not have access to the vaccine yet.

 Who can get an MPV vaccine? 

  • Someone who had a high-risk exposure to a person diagnosed with MPV. 
  • Sex workers of any gender or sexual orientation.
  • Gay, Bisexual or other man or transgender person who has sex with men AND to whom at least 1 of the following applies:
    • Had multiple sex partners in the past 3 months.
    • Had gonorrhea or syphilis in the past year.
    • Used methamphetamine in the past month.
    • Attended a bathhouse or public sex venue in the past 3 months.
    • Homeless or in unstable housing AND staying in a congregate setting.
    • Exchanged sex for money, drugs or other purposes in the past 3 months.
    • Incarcerated in the past 3 months.
    • Black, Hispanic, Latinx, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian, Indigenous, American Indian or Alaska Native.

When you have more vaccine, how will you prioritize who gets it? 

  • Our first priority for the vaccine will remain close contacts of people who have MPV. We are working with our community partners to identify people who are at the highest risk of the disease and would benefit most from getting it.  We are making plans to administer vaccines as equitably as possible once more vaccines are available. The exact timing will depend on both vaccine availability and DOH guidance. 

Treatment medicines for people who have MPV

If I have MPV, should I take drugs to help my body fight the virus?

  • WCHD has a limited supply of antiviral medication to treat MPV. Not everyone who has the virus needs medication. Some people can successfully recover without antivirals.  If you have MPV, talk with your doctor about treatment options. Your doctor will work with us to get the medications if you are high risk. Some groups that are high-risk and are more likely to need drugs include:
    • People with severe disease.
    • People who are immunocompromised.
    • Children under 8 years old.
    • Pregnant or breastfeeding people.
    • People who have certain skin conditions.

 

View/Print WCHD MPV Information Sheets