Health Department Says Monkeypox Has Arrived in Missoula County
KGVO News spoke to Health Promotion Division Director Cindy Farr on Wednesday about the reported exposure in Missoula County.
Monkeypox Reported in Missoula County
“What we can say is that we do have a probable case of monkeypox, which were actually has been renamed to MPX,” began Farr. “At this point basically we call it a probable case because the initial testing that happened up at the Montana Public Health labs or the state public health lab came back positive, but we can't consider it a confirmed case until we get those results back from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).”
That being said, Farr said the Missoula City-County Health Department is hard at work tracing the exposure to Monkeypox.
Monkeypox Contact Tracing is Underway
“We do have one case, here in Missoula,” she said. “We are actively working on doing contact tracing and getting anyone that could have been exposed to it in for post-exposure prophylaxis, or getting the vaccine to help them either reduce their symptoms if they do develop MPX or could possibly keep them from getting it all together.”
Farr repeated the method of exposure to the virus, which is primarily skin-to-skin through male-to-male sexual contact.
Male to Male Sexual Contact Most Common Method of Spread
“It is skin-to-skin contact that spreads it,” he said. “We're seeing more of a spread in the men-who-have-sex-with-men population, and so that's been nationwide. So we definitely are getting a lot of outreach to that population to let them know how to protect themselves, but primarily the way that you protect yourself from it is just to make sure that you are not coming in skin-to-skin contact with a person who is actively infectious.”
Despite the fact that there have been few confirmed cases in Montana, Farr said the population most vulnerable to the virus is reaching out for as much information as possible.
“I feel like people that fit into those high-risk categories are the only ones that have really been reaching out to us with questions about how to protect themselves and whether or not they would be eligible for a vaccine,” she said. “So right now, we haven't really seen it spread very much in Montana, so I feel like it's just kind of on that really low level that people that think that they could potentially be exposed to it or reaching out to us. But there are not a ton of general public questions.”
Get More Information Here
For more information on the symptoms of MPX, prevention and vaccine information, the spread of the disease, and more, please visit missoulainfo.com. For more information on statewide MPX response, visit the MT DPHHS website. This website has details on treatment and vaccination for MPX.
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