Wyoming Reports 1st Monkeypox Case, Now in All 50 States

Wyoming Reports 1st Monkeypox Case, Now in All 50 States
Miriala Gonzalez, a registered nurse, measures out a monkeypox vaccine shot at a vaccination site setup in Tropical Park by Miami-Dade County and Nomi Health in Miami, Florida, on Aug. 15, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

Monkeypox cases are now in all 50 U.S. states after Wyoming reported its first case on Monday, prompting the state to offer vaccines to gay and bisexual men and their partners.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, Wyoming’s health officer and epidemiologist, said Monday that public health officials from the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) are investigating if the male patient from Laramie County had direct contact with anyone else.

“Because monkeypox spreads through close, intimate contact we do not believe the risk for the virus is now a higher concern for the local community or for most people in Wyoming,” Harrist said in a statement. “Monkeypox does not spread easily like familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19.”

Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that monkeypox is primarily spread by amongst gay and bisexual men, the agency also says it can also spread through direct contact with anyone.

There are over 15,400 monkeypox cases in the United States as of Aug. 23, after the first cases in the current outbreak emerged at two major LGBT festivals in Europe in May.

The largest number of U.S. monkeypox cases are in New York state, where there are over 3,100 cases, as of Aug. 23, according to New York’s health department.
New York on Sunday reported its first case in a juvenile under 18 whose information is being kept confidential.
At least five pediatric cases have been reported since July. The first two cases in July and August were a toddler in California and an infant who is not a U.S. resident in Washington D.C. They received antiviral treatments for the disease.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in late July that the first two pediatric cases, which were unrelated, were linked to the “gay men’s community.” She noted that they may be the result of household transmission, but did not elaborate on the link.
The next three reported cases, two in Indiana and one in California, were kept confidential. However, California health officials noted after the fifth case emerged that monkeypox may also spread via household items, such as utensils, and via “holding and feeding.”

Wyoming’s Vaccine Plan

Monkeypox vaccines have been sought but access remains limited across the United States and the world. The Biden administration recently announced a plan to stretch is supply fivefold by using a lower dose injected just beneath the skin.

Wyoming will now offer monkeypox shots to eligible people, including men who have had sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous partners in the last year (and their partners) and male or female sex workers.

“We do want to prevent further spread within our state as much as possible,“ Harrist said. ”That’s why we will recommend vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and also for people who may be more likely to get monkeypox based on the current outbreak and how it has been spreading.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that does not usually cause serious illness, but may still result in hospitalization or death.

In the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox cases have involved a rash often located in the genital and peri-anal regions. Other symptoms may include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pain upon swallowing. Most cases last two to four weeks. The condition has been spreading primarily among gay and bisexual men.

“While anyone can become ill with monkeypox, vaccine eligibility is currently limited to people who are at highest risk in connection with this outbreak and how its spreading,” Harrist said. “The goal is to put available vaccine supplies to the best possible use.”

Related Topics