Tim Menza, MD, Ph.D., Senior Health Adviser for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Mpox Response, said that while the number of Mpox cases in the state has declined dramatically since last summer, the outbreak that began in June 2022 it’s not over.
“There are reports of increased cases in the United States (Chicago) and around the world, including in France and South Korea,” Menza said.
Oregon still sees one to three cases of Mpox reported per month, although that is a significant drop from the 10 to 15 cases reported per week when the outbreak peaked in early August 2022. The state’s total Mpox case count is now of 280 in 12 counties since the outbreak began, including 278 adult cases and two pediatric cases. There were no deaths.
What is MPox?
Smallpox (formerly known as monkeypox) is caused by a virus related to the virus that causes smallpox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). JYNNEOS is a 2-dose vaccine designed to protect against pox and smallpox infections. People need to receive both doses of the vaccine to get the best protection against Mpox. The second dose should be administered 4 weeks after the first dose.
Vaccination is an important tool to stop the spread of Mpox. Vaccinated people should continue to avoid close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has Mpox.
That the Mpox outbreak is not over is a sentiment shared by the CDC. On May 15, the agency issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory alerting health and public health partners to the ongoing community transmission of Mpox in the United States and internationally. HAN informs clinicians and public health agencies about the potential for new clusters or outbreaks of mpox cases and provides resources for clinical evaluation, treatment, vaccination and testing.
“We have the tools to prevent a resurgence in Oregon, including testing, vaccination, treatment, strong community partnerships, and data to guide our response,” emphasized Menza. “As we gather and travel to gay pride celebrations in Oregon and across the country next month, we can use these tools now to help us avoid a repeat of the 2022 outbreak.”
JYNNEOS mpox vaccine is free and readily available to anyone in Oregon who wants to be vaccinated. As of May 15, 20,972 doses of JYNNEOS have been administered in Oregon, including 13,084 first doses and 7,703 second doses. Menza believes that there are many more people who could benefit from vaccination who have not yet received the first dose, and that an estimated 5,381 people are still eligible for a second dose but have not yet received it.
The JYNNEOS vaccine is highly effective. According to a study published May 19 in the CDC’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, the vaccine was 75% effective for those given one dose and 86% effective for those given two doses.
“People with two doses of the vaccine can feel confident in their protection, but outbreak cases are possible; so if you’ve been vaccinated and you notice a new spot or rash, talk to your doctor,” Menza explained. “We’re still learning how long vaccine protection lasts, but we know that vaccines make transmission and spread of Mpox less likely and help make symptoms less severe.”
Mpox spreads mainly through skin-to-skin contact. Most often, it occurred through intimate or sexual contact and during contact with the lesions of an individual with Mpox through a caring relationship, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caring for another person.
Infection rates are highest among people living in Multnomah County, ages 30 to 39, and members of the Latino and Black/African-American communities. Most of the cases were men who reported having sex with men, and most identified as gay or bisexual men.
People who suspect they have Mpox should contact their doctor to let them know before being seen. The provider may recommend testing for Mpox. Those who do not have a healthcare provider can call 2-1-1 or their local public health authority for help finding a clinic or healthcare provider.
For more information about Mpox in Oregon, visit the OHA Mpox website.
site on the Internet. Vaccination clinics can also be searched by zip code with an mpox vaccine finder tool at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Monkeypox/Pages/vaccine.aspx or at https://mpoxvaxmap.org/ .