PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Health Authority confirmed Wednesday the state’s first pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV).
OHA and county 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 OHA. “This child did not get the virus at school, child care or another community setting.”
To protect patient confidentiality, OHA is not disclosing the child’s sex, age, county of residence or how the child is connected to the previously diagnosed case.
The pediatric case is one of 116 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Oregon, which also includes 112 men and four women. Illness onset ranges from June 7 to Aug. 9.
The cases have been reported in seven counties: four in Clackamas, one in Columbia, one in Coos, 20 in Lane, one in Marion, 73 in Multnomah and 16 in Washington. About 27.6% of cases identify as Hispanic/Latino.
Nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 12,700 cases in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They are among more than 38,000 cases in 93 countries.
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.
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.
Symptoms of the virus can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Not everyone will have these symptoms, but everyone will experience a rash or sores. The rash can affect the skin of the face, arms, legs and torso, as well as the genitals, in and/or around the anus (butthole), or in the mouth.
Initially, the rash can look like a pimple with an area of red skin underneath it. From there, the pimples can get a little bigger, form indentations, and fill with fluid or pus. Typically, they then scab. It usually takes two to four weeks to heal over with fresh skin.
OHA recommends people who test positive for monkeypox or who are awaiting test results isolate at home to avoid spread of infection to others. There are additional precautions they and household members can take to further reduce transmission risk that can be found on OHA’s If a clinician recommends that you receive an Orthopoxvirus test page. The CDC also has information on its Preventing Spread to Others page.
People who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. Those who don’t have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 to get help finding a clinic or health care provider, or reach out to their local public health authority to find a clinic or provider.