Presumptive case of monkeypox under investigation in King County

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Public Health Seattle & King County announced Monday afternoon that it is investigating a presumptive case of monkeypox in King County.

The presumptive case was reported to health officials on Sunday.

This case comes as Washingtonians are still dealing with COVID-19.

The case is from a man who traveled internationally in the past month to a country that has also reported monkeypox cases, health officials said.

According to initial test results conducted by the Washington State Public Health Laboratory, the man is confirmed to be infected with orthopoxvirus, but health officials said final results will come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials said they are working with the man and his health care providers to identify others who might have come in contact with him.

The man reportedly is in isolation and officials said he does not pose a risk to others at this time, as he has not been hospitalized.

No high-risk exposures have been identified in the county, but health workers are following up with those who have had potential low-risk exposures.

“The public and health care providers should be aware of the growing international monkeypox outbreak,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health Seattle & King County. “At this time, we have no evidence that monkeypox is spreading locally, but if there are unrecognized cases, that is a possibility.”

Besides Monday’s case, KIRO 7 reported on Friday about a case of monkeypox that was confirmed in the U.S.

The person who was confirmed to be infected was a man who recently traveled to Canada, and the CDC said it had expected to see more cases soon.

Monkeypox is a rare virus usually seen in central and western Africa.

Doctors said it usually spreads from scratches or bites from wild animals.

In the past week, people who have never traveled to Africa have been infected and doctors were working to determine if the virus was transmitted sexually.

Mostly young men from Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden and Canada have been infected.

On Friday, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia all confirmed their first few cases.

Doctors said the virus usually starts with flu-like symptoms and progresses to a rash with bumps on the face and body.

“People should understand that the disease can affect anyone, and those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox. The risk is not limited to men who have sex with men,” said Duchin.

The CDC said smallpox vaccines are being used to protect against monkeypox because both viruses are related.

However, the vaccine has not been widely used since 1972, when smallpox was eradicated.

Guidance for the public

People who may have symptoms of monkeypox should contact their health care provider, including anyone who:

• Traveled to central or west African countries, parts of Europe where monkeypox cases have been reported, or other areas with confirmed cases of monkeypox during the month before their symptoms began.

• Had contact with a person with confirmed or suspected monkeypox.

• Is a man who regularly has close or intimate contact with other men, including through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party.