2nd case of monkeypox confirmed in Alaska

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 8:35 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A second case of the monkeypox virus has been confirmed in Alaska less than a week after the state reported its first positive case, with both cases in Anchorage, according to the state epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin from the Alaska Department of Health.

“What we’re seeing with respect to the national outbreak is 99% of the cases have been in people who were assigned to male sex at birth. And so it’s predominantly by the vast, vast, vast majority of cases have been in men,” McLaughlin said. “CDC reported out this morning (Thursday) that about 84% of those people who have self-identified as being men who have sex with men.”

McLaughlin says that neither of the people had traveled outside of the state during their incubation period, but both did report that they had been in contact with people who had traveled outside of Alaska immediately prior to contact. He said anyone can get it.

“This disease doesn’t care if you’re male, female, young, old. And really, it comes down to the way it’s transmitted is primarily through close skin-to-skin contact for a prolonged period of time,” he said.

The Alaska State Public Health Laboratory tested 15 people in Alaska as of Thursday for monkeypox, with ten people in the state receiving the vaccine already.

The Alaska DOH received 200 new doses of the monkeypox vaccine Wednesday night bringing the state’s total to 300 vaccines, with the department being able to request more in about two weeks

For now, the Alaska Department of Health issued a two-tiered response for those eligible for the vaccine:

Tier 1: Post-exposure prophylaxis vaccination (PEP) for people (regardless of gender) who have had a documented/notified exposure to someone with monkeypox, including:

  • People who have been identified by public health authorities as a contact with high or intermediate risk exposure to monkeypox.
  • People who have been alerted that they may have been exposed to monkeypox, even if they are not contacted by a public health authority (e.g., a person who received a notification from a recent sexual partner or an anonymous notification of exposure).

Tier 2: Expanded post-exposure prophylaxis vaccination (PEP++) to reach people potentially at increased risk for monkeypox even if they have not had a documented/notified exposure to someone with monkeypox, including:

  • Gay, bisexual, or other men or transgender people who have sex with men AND
  • Have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the past 14 days.

“So if you meet any of the, either of those criteria, please reach out to your health care provider or to the Anchorage Health Department as soon as possible to try and get access to get vaccinated,” said McLaughlin.

The Alaska DOH states that the vaccination to prevent monkeypox is not recommended for the general public.

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