Monkeypox banner

Introduction #

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. In the current monkeypox outbreak, the virus is spreading primarily through close personal contact. This may include contact with infectious lesions or respiratory secretions via close, sustained skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sex. However, any close, sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox can spread the virus. The contact does not have to be exclusively intimate or sexual. (CDC)

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” on July 17, 2022. On August 4, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Governor Jay Inslee issued Directive 22-18 on August 12, which expanded the Department of Health’s ability to engage in education, outreach, testing, vaccination, and data collection related to the 2022 Monkeypox outbreak. King County declared a local public health emergency on August 19 due to Monkeypox.

Resources #

WSNA is monitoring state and local responses to monkeypox and their impact on our members. Current case counts, reported by county, are available on the Washington State Department of Health Monkeypox page. FAQs, clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals, and information about testing, treatment, and vaccination can be found via the Washington State Department of Health and the CDC. For more information, the following resources are available:

WSNA also has an “Info to Go” one-pager that can be downloaded and shared. This information will be updated as changes occur.