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We are investigating the first probable case of monkeypox in Pierce County.

Update July 14:

We are investigating a second probable case of monkeypox in Pierce County.

A man in his 50s tested positive on Wednesday, July 13. He was not hospitalized and is isolating at home. This case is not related to Pierce County’s first case and does not appear to be travel-related.

You can learn more about monkeypox on our webpage. We update our case count there every Tuesday and Thursday.

Original post:

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is investigating the first probable case of monkeypox in Pierce County.

A man in his 30s tested positive for Orthopoxvirus on Saturday. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will work to confirm he has the monkeypox virus.

The patient was not hospitalized and is recovering at home. We are working with him and his healthcare providers to identify anyone who may have come into close contact with him while he was infectious. He is isolating and does not pose a risk to others.

Monkeypox is a viral disease not often seen in the United States. The first cases in Washington were linked to travel, but Public Health Seattle-King County announced this week the virus is likely spreading locally. This first probable case in Pierce County does not appear to be related to travel.

Anyone can get monkeypox. The virus spreads during close, physical contact with:

  • Monkeypox rash, sores or scabs.
  • Objects, fabrics or surfaces a person with monkeypox used.
  • Respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with monkeypox.

Monkeypox can spread as soon as symptoms start until all sores heal and a fresh layer of skin forms. This can be several weeks.

CDC is tracking the outbreak. Anyone who has close physical contact with a person who has monkeypox is at risk. Men who have sex with men may be at higher risk because the virus is spreading in these communities.

Most people recover in 2–4 weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for children and people who are immune compromised or pregnant.

Monkeypox can cause a rash that looks like bumps, blisters or ulcers. Before the rash, some people have flu-like symptoms, like:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches and backache.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Chills.
  • Exhaustion.

If you have a new rash or sores or other symptoms:

  • Avoid sex or intimate contact.
  • See your healthcare provider. Remind them monkeypox may be circulating in the community.

Healthcare providers may prescribe antiviral medicine for people who are at high risk of severe disease.

The monkeypox and smallpox viruses are similar. Antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to treat and prevent monkeypox.

Department of Health and Human Services announced a new vaccine strategy to help slow the spread of monkeypox in at-risk communities. We are working with Washington State Department of Health to coordinate those efforts in Pierce County.

Learn more about monkeypox on our webpage.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. We are one of only 163 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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