Oregon state health officials reported Wednesday the state’s first pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV).
Public health officials say the case is linked to an adult monkeypox infection that was confirmed last month.
“We have a known connection to a previously diagnosed case,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., health officer and state epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority (OHA). “This child did not get the virus at school, child care or another community setting.”
The Oregon child was tested for monkeypox Aug. 11, and the test results were reported to public health Aug. 15. Since receiving test results, the local public health authority, with support from OHA, has been conducting a case investigation and contact tracing to determine whether there are other exposures. During these investigations, public health provides guidance on how to avoid spreading the virus to others and offers vaccines to close contacts.
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Sidelinger acknowledged concerns of parents who are preparing to send their students back to school in the coming weeks, as monkeypox cases continue to rise in Oregon and other states. But he emphasized that risk of monkeypox spreading in school settings is low, since the most common means of person-to-person transmission is direct contact with the rash, scabs or body fluids of a person with the virus.
“Monkeypox is not COVID-19. This virus is not easily spread unless you have that prolonged, close, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person,” Sidelinger said.
Oregon has reported 116 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox to date.
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