There are 166 reported cases of monkeypox in Washington state

The Department of Health said at least 166 cases have been reported in the state so far.

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) officials released new information on monkeypox cases, the same day the federal government declared them a public health emergency.

As of Aug. 3, DOH said 166 cases had been reported, with most of the cases being in King County. Additional cases have been reported in Whatcom, Snohomish, Pierce, Lewis, Yakima, Benton, Cowlitz, Clark, Mason and Kitsap counties.

DOH officials said while many counties have no confirmed cases, the department expects that to change as a “natural result of infectious disease transmission.” Officials stressed that while there has been a disproportionate impact on the LGBTQ+ community, anyone can become infected.

“This is a human disease,” said Health Minister Dr. Umair Shah. “It’s behavioral, it’s not specific to sexual orientation or gender identity, anyone can get (monkeypox) through close contact with someone with a contagious rash related to (monkeypox), or we also believe some potential for transmission through touching bedding or clothing that has also been exposed to the (monkeypox) virus.”

The first confirmed case of monkeypox was in King County on May 23. DOH established a working group before activating an Incident Management Team in July.

Cases have been doubling about every seven to eight days, with all cases occurring in adults, according to Chief Science Officer Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett.

Monkeypox can be spread through contact with rashes, scabs, or liquids, and through prolonged contact with the respiratory tract. It can also spread by touching the same objects or clothing, although brief interactions are not considered high risk or close contact.

“There is no place for stigma in our community’s response to monkeypox,” he said.

DOH requested 96% of federally allocated vaccine doses, leaving the other 4% as additional counties or tribal communities that may need assistance were identified. You can read more about the challenges of accessing vaccines on the ground here.

Naisha Williams, DOH director of community relations and equity, said the department has learned lessons from the COVID-19 response and the mitigation strategy will include working with trusted community organizations, community leaders, and healthcare providers to work with community members to get in touch.

CLOCK: State health officials debate monkeypox response There are 166 reported cases of monkeypox in Washington state

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