October 3, 2022

Health officials investigating possible monkeypox case in Washington

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Public health officials in Washington announced Monday they’re investigating the state’s first presumptively positive case of monkeypox.

Details: The case involves an adult man who recently traveled to an undisclosed country where other monkeypox cases have been reported, state and local health officials said.

Driving the news: Washington now joins a handful of other states to report confirmed and possible cases, including Massachusetts, New York and Florida.

  • Several countries also have reported confirmed or presumptive monkeypox cases, including Australia, Canada, Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, Germany and France, per the World Health Organization.

What they’re saying: Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement Monday that the public and healthcare providers “should be aware of the growing international monkeypox outbreak.”

  • The person believed to be infected with monkeypox is isolating and poses no risk at this time, Duchin said.
  • “At this time, we have no evidence that monkeypox is spreading locally, but if there are unrecognized cases, that is a possibility,” he added.

Why it matters: Health experts have said the current international outbreak is not likely to cause a global pandemic like COVID did, but some officials are increasingly voicing concern and raising public awareness to the virus.

  • President Biden, in his first public remarks about the monkeypox outbreak, said Sunday said the recent international outbreak is “something that everybody should be concerned about.”

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