By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming has the distinction of being the only state in the nation without a confirmed monkeypox case, as of Tuesday, August 9.
However, a monkeypox vaccine is now available in the Cowboy State, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
The department announced on Tuesday that limited amounts of the vaccine are now available to a select group of people including:
· 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 get monkeypox, vaccine eligibility is limited at this point to those people who are at highest risk due to limited supplies,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health.
Vaccines will be made available beginning on Aug.15. Eligible adults interested in vaccination should contact the public health office in their area, according to the department.
Of the surrounding states, Colorado has the most cases with 78 followed by Utah with 48 cases and then Nebraska with 14.
Idaho has seven reported cases while South Dakota and Montana each have one.
Dr. Harrist said monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. “This disease is usually characterized by a rash and can also involve other symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness,” she said.
Harrist noted monkeypox is rarely fatal but can be unpleasant and painful and can cause serious illness in some people.