Oklahoma has 11 confirmed Monkeypox cases; experts say not to worry

TULSA, Okla. — Monkeypox appears like raised lesions on an infected person. Health experts say it’s primarily contracted through prolonged skin-to-skin contact.

Madison Thomas is an epidemiology supervisor at the Tulsa County Health Department.

“A large portion of the cases have been traced back to sexual contact,” she said.

It can also be contracted by hugging or kissing someone who is already infected with a visible rash.

Jan Fox is the Deputy Commissioner over Health Preparedness for the Oklahoma Department of Health.

“The rash is the key and so if someone with a rash, I wouldn’t hug or kiss someone them,” Fox said.

That rash starts on the face and travels down the body. It can be anywhere, including the hands.

Fox says Monkeypox can be contracted by sharing a cup or utensils or bedding with someone who has the disease.

“I like to word it as in it’s a low risk to the majority of the population,” Thomas said.

There is a vaccine but not everyone is eligible to get it.

“The vaccine is in short supply and so we’re using it specifically for people who’ve had contact to someone who has Monkeypox,” Fox said.

She says the vaccine is successful in preventing those who have been exposed from getting the disease.

There are 11 confirmed cases in Oklahoma -- 7 in Central Oklahoma and 4 in the Northeast. Oklahoma’s neighbor to the south reports 559 cases.

There is some concern that Monkeypox could spread as Oklahomans travel to Texas. Should parents be worried for their kids going to college there?

“I think worried is too strong. I don’t think we need to be worried but one should be aware that Monkeypox is in our state and take measures to protect themselves,” Fox said.

To do that, she advises not having close contact with someone who has a rash and using good old handwashing.

If you think you have been exposed to Monkeypox, Fox advises to contact the Communicable Disease Epi-on-Call by contacting 405-426-8710 and if you meet the criteria for vaccination, the Epi-on-Call will direct you to a location to get the vaccine.