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Posted on: August 22, 2022

Wyoming’s First Monkeypox Case Identified

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August 22, 2022

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is announcing the first monkeypox case in a Wyoming resident has been identified in Laramie County.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said public health representatives are following up with the individual to see if additional Wyoming residents are at higher risk of contracting monkeypox due to direct contact with the adult man, who was tested within the last week.

“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,” she said. “Monkeypox does not spread easily like familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19.”

Monkeypox is characterized by a rash with other symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. Monkeypox is rarely fatal but is unpleasant and painful and can cause serious illness in some people. Experts have been tracking a growing outbreak of monkeypox in areas that don’t normally report the disease, including across the United States.

Detailed facts, including rash photos, data and prevention recommendations are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

“We do want to prevent further spread within our state as much as possible. 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,” Harrist said.

The following people are eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if they live or work in Wyoming:

  • Men who have sex with men and who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last year
  • Partners of men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last year
  • Transgender and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with multiple or anonymous sexual partners who are male or male assigned at birth within the past year
  • Sex workers (of any sex)

“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.”

Eligible individuals interested in vaccination appointments should contact the public health office in their area. Contact information for county public health offices can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/nursing/phn-co-offices/. Wyoming residents may also call WDH at 307-777-6004 for help finding the closest local public health office.

While available monkeypox vaccine doses are being provided by the federal government through the state at no cost, a small administration fee may be charged.

More Wyoming-related information and updates about monkeypox can be found at

https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/monkeypox/.

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