By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming is no longer the only state in the nation not to have a confirmed case of monkeypox.
The Wyoming Department of Health on Monday announced that a Laramie County resident has come down with the illness.
Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist, said the department is investigating to determine whether other Wyoming residents are at risk due to direct contact with the adult man who was tested last week.
“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,” she said. “Monkeypox does not spread easily like familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19.”
According to an NBC News report last week, research suggests the virus is largely transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, in particular during sex between men.
“A growing body of evidence supports that sexual transmission, particularly through seminal fluids, is occurring with the current MPX outbreak,” said Dr. Aniruddha Hazra, medical director of the University of Chicago Sexual Wellness Clinic, referring to monkeypox and to recent studies that found the virus in semen.
Harrist is recommending vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and for those more likely to contract the illness.
“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.”
The following people are eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if they live or work in Wyoming:
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).