By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has launched a data page for monkeypox spread and vaccination efforts in the state.
During a Thursday IDHW board meeting, state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn updated the IDHW Board of Directors on the state’s monkeypox response. Of the 58 patients Idaho has tested for monkeypox, 9 have tested positive. Eight of those live in Public Health District 4, which serves Ada, Valley, Elmore, and Boise counties; The ninth was in eastern Idaho’s Public Health District 7. Hahn said the department has heard anecdotes that there are other potential cases that haven’t been tested, and at least some of those patients have not traveled out of the state, meaning they contracted the virus within the state.
“We do know that because this is a relatively mild disease in many patients, and we do hear anecdotally that some people are not coming in for testing… there’s probably more disease out there that we’re aware of,” Hahn said.
Currently, IDHW is working with clinics that already work with high-risk populations, such as men who have sex with men, on monkeypox outreach and vaccination efforts.
The state currently has more than a thousand doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox and smallpox vaccine. As of Aug. 17, Idaho has administered 115 doses of the two-dose monkeypox vaccine, mostly to men who have sex with men or those who may be exposed through household contact.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes lesions on the skin, as well as flu-like symptoms like fever, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue. It’s spread through close contact between people, such as cuddling, kisses, and sexual intercourse.