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Wyoming’s first monkeypox case confirmed in Laramie County resident

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus. (Shutterstock)

CASPER, Wyo. — On Monday, the Wyoming Department of Health announced the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the state.

The case has been confirmed in a resident in Laramie County, the WDH said. Public health representatives are following up with the person to see whether other Wyoming residents may be at risk of contracting monkeypox due to contact with the person, according to Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with the WDH.

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

Monkeypox symptoms include rashes, fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness, the WDH said.

“Monkeypox is rarely fatal but is unpleasant and painful and can cause serious illness in some people,” the release added. “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.”

The WDH recommends that people who have been exposed to monkeypox or who may be more likely to get it consider vaccination.

The following people are eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if they live or work in the state, the WDH said:

  • 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 it’s spreading,” Harrist said. “The goal is to put available vaccine supplies to the best possible use.”

People eligible for the vaccines can contact public health offices across Wyoming.

“Contact information for county public health offices can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/nursing/phn-co-offices/,” the WDH said. “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 information related to monkeypox is available from the WDH.