Monkeypox vaccine distributed in Washington state

Washington state has been allocated 796 doses of the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A limited amount of the monkeypox vaccine is being distributed in Washington state to help stop the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.

Washington state has been allocated 796 doses of the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine, equivalent to 398 cycles. According to the CDC, 272 courses were distributed to areas with known cases and close contacts.

There are 15 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox in Washington state – 14 of them are residents of King County; the other is a person who was exposed in another state but tested positive in Washington.

As of July 6, there were nearly 7,000 cases worldwide and 560 cases in the United States, according to the CDC.

Early cases of monkeypox have been identified in people who have traveled outside of Washington state. However, more recent cases have been identified in people who have not recently traveled out of state. This means they were probably locally exposed.

“The risk to the public is currently low. Transmission generally requires close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has symptoms of the disease,” said Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases. “For people who have recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox, the vaccine may reduce the chance of developing monkeypox infection.”

Phase 1 vaccine distribution asks the government to allocate 56,000 doses, prioritizing states and jurisdictions with high caseloads.

In late July or early August, Phase 2 will have 240,000 additional doses available nationwide.

On June 29, the US announced “aggressive steps to combat the recent monkeypox outbreak and expanded the list of people recommended to be vaccinated.

The administration said it was widening the pool of people recommended to get vaccinated to include those who might themselves realize they could be infected. This includes men who have recently had sex with men at parties or other gatherings in cities where cases of monkeypox have been recorded.

There have been no deaths in the US and officials say the risk to the American public is low. But they are taking steps to reassure people that medical measures are in place to deal with the growing problem.

What is monkeypox? And how is it spreading?

Monkeypox is a virus that originates from wild animals such as rodents and primates and occasionally spreads to humans. Most human cases have occurred in central and western Africa, where the disease is endemic.

The disease was first identified by scientists in 1958 when there were two outbreaks of a “smallpox-like” disease in research monkeys – hence the name monkeypox. The first known human infection occurred in 1970 in a 9-year-old boy in a remote part of Congo.

Monkeypox belongs to the same virus family as smallpox but causes milder symptoms.

Most patients suffer from fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more severe illnesses can develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands, which can spread to other parts of the body.

The incubation period is about five days to three weeks. Most people recover in about two to four weeks without requiring hospitalization.

Monkeypox can kill up to 1 in 10 people and is thought to be more serious in children.

Individuals exposed to the virus are often given one of several smallpox vaccines that have been shown to be effective against monkeypox. Antiviral drugs are also being developed.

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