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Deschutes County Health urges vigilance as presumptive monkeypox case found in Seattle

(Update: Adding video, comments by Deschutes County health officials)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As King County, Washington officials investigate a presumptive case of the monkeypox virus in Seattle, Deschutes County officials are beginning to prepare for the virus's potential arrival in Central Oregon.

Deschutes County Health Services spokesman Erik Breon told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday, "Deschutes County is working on a plan, building off our COVID-19 infrastructure."

Typically, the monkeypox virus is only found in Africa, but a new global outbreak has seen nearly 100 cases reported in North America, Europe, Israel and Australia, including the one in Seattle this weekend.

The case, reported to Public Health - Seattle & King County on Sunday, is an adult male who recently traveled internationally to a country that reported monkeypox cases recently.

That’s has Deschutes County Assistant Health Officer, Dr. Richard Fawcett concerned and looking to learn more.

“(The virus being discovered in Seattle) raises some increased concern, in part because our local population in Deschutes County, especially during the summer months, tends to travel a little bit more than, say, a few other counties in Oregon,” Fawcett said. "It’s not exactly clear where the virus was first contracted.”

Unlike COVID-19, Fawcett said, monkeypox does not primarily spread through respiratory droplets.

“Most of the cases that I've read about in Europe and in the U.S. have been probably acquired sexually," Fawcett said. "Physical contact seems to be the most common method of transmission.”

Monkeypox is a virus first discovered in 1958 and originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. Most human cases have been in central and west Africa, where the disease is endemic. It comes from the same virus family as smallpox, but tends to cause less severe symptoms.

Typical symptoms include fever, body aches, chills and fatigue, but more serious illness can include lesions developing on the hands and face.

There are vaccines for people who may have been exposed to the virus, and it does not appear to be as transmissible as COVID-19. But this appears to be the first time monkeypox is spreading among people who did not travel to Africa.

There have been about 100 cases reported recently in Europe, North America, Israel and Australia.

Health officials stress that the risk of contracting monkeypox is still low for the general public. The course of the disease runs for 2-4 weeks and is cured without any treatment.

However Fawcett is still urging caution for the disease, which can be deadly in one out of 10 people.

“If you develop a flu-like illness who has a rash of any kind, you really just need to be evaluated,” he said.

Author Profile Photo

Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.



  1. They’re trying their damndest to get us rattled. Wouldn’t be surprised if they drive an infected person here under the guise of seeking treatment in Portland.

    1. Who are “they”? Liberals I suppose?…let’s politicize this healthcare concern the way COVID is/was. And OMG, it’s endemic to Africa too.

    2. Yes, THEY are. Go hide under your bed Doug! In fact, “THEY” are my good friends and they are looking to infect you personally!!! Run Dougy Dog!! Go hide!! LOL

  2. Could it be that the Covid vaccines actually weakened our immune systems and left us more susceptible to other viruses? I have no knowledge to say this is the case, but am simply asking the question.

    1. No, actually… scientifically.. it COULD NOT be that. Nice try though. I mean, just because the vaccines are garbage and don’t work worth a damn, doesn’t mean they’re out to make you more sick. If you’re not sexually active (as is the case for most people who post on here), then you’re fine. Besides, once it’s full blown and spreading everywhere, you’ll all just deny it.. right?

      1. You certainly sound like an expert. My whole point was that a disease that has been in check for 60 years is now spreading (fairly rapidly it appears). Why now? Over half of the people in the world have received the Covid vaccine within the last two years. It could certainly be a coincidence, but I think it is worth considering the possibility that there could be a connection. I am not a conspiracy person and am not trying to say this was intentional or part of any plan. I am just pointing out the timing of it all and wondering if there is a connection.

      2. …”(as is the case for most people who post on here)”…

        OK, so that made me laugh out loud, which sent the cats rocketing out of their sleeping spots…

        Thank you for that bit of levity in this wildly contentious comment space…

      3. You know nothing of science other than just what you are told. And you blindly trust what you are told. Good little laughing hyena. I’m actually laughing @U.

    2. Firstly, to be clear, there is currently zero evidence that the COVID vaccine has anything to do with susceptibility to monkeypox.

      That said, I don’t think it’s impossible. We know that there are physiological responses to the vaccines above and beyond antibody production, and some of those changes could make us more susceptible. But just because it could happen certainly doesn’t mean that it did. Again, we have zero evidence that that is the case.

      Other options that come to mind are:

      * There are well over twice as many people living in the world today than in 1958. And travel is far more frequent, especially to and from Africa. Maybe we’ve reached some kind of critical mass to allow easier spread.

      * Maybe it mutated.

      * Maybe an increase in global temperature increases the virus’s range.

      To be clear, these ideas of mine are rampant speculation with zero scientific support. I only offer them as potential other reasons for the coincident spread of monkeypox.

      So we really don’t know. We’ll need to wait for the results of more study.

      1. And they were correct. Sounds like they are paying attention to history. Otherwise, how can you explain why PrEP is marketed almost exclusively to the LQBTQ community? Is there any community you do not spew hate towards? By denying the truth you put millions at risk in the name of virtue signaling!

  3. Most likely but don’t worry, big pharm has plans to concoct many more ineffective vaccines. Of course not for profit but for our safety.

    1. The pox vaccine eradicated smallpox in the U.S. in 1972, so apparently it’s pretty effective. This means older Americans are already vaccinated, assuming vaccine immunity persists over time.

      1. Yeah, back when a vaccine was actually a vaccine……..COVID vaccines and boosters have done nothing close to eradicating it’s so called purpose. It has made companies huge profits however.

    1. Yeah because viruses only affect poor/gross places… right? Lol. You don’t need to worry Nosepickett. Sounds like folks have to be sexually active for this to be a problem for them, so you should be alright.

    2. LOL, take a look at America you idiot, it’s getting pretty dump like as well, especially with low iq warriors such as yourself.

    3. Dear God, what rock did you crawl out from? Take a look around America there pal, starting to get a little dumpy if you ask me, especially with the likes of idiots like you.

      1. Where do you think these disgusting diseases come from? High population and poor hygiene equals the spread of disease. Visit there at your own peril. There should be compulsory quarantine for people coming here from countries like that.

  4. I can’t wait to see the nonsense spew from BGHW on this topic. LMAO. Come on buddy.. balme it on Kate, the Libs, Antifa, the Left, your President Biden, big pharma, WHO, or Bill Gates.. Which one’s it gonna be BGHW? Any bets out there before he posts, folks? My bet is he blames Biden somehow.

    1. All this monkey business is driving you bananas! Your throwing poo at someone that’s not even there! Get a grip and join a real life conversation.

  5. Monkeypox, important!

    Biden declaring war on China, unimportant! Along with the economy, the border crisis, gas prices, etc, etc……..

      1. With such vague reporting of facts…….I tried to post the fact of how most, and likely all, the cases were contracted but you refused it. Why censor the truth?

  6. An article like this should contain (1) The origin of the spread was a couple of gay raves in Europe, where participants engaged in random unprotected sex and (2) the reporter should mention that the best way to not get the monkey virus is to not engage in unprotected, gay sex. Please do not tiptoe around the realities of this disease.

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