Monkeypox in Wyoming
First case confirmed; vaccines available
August 25, 2022
This week the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) announced the first monkeypox case in a Wyoming resident was identified in Laramie County.
Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said public health representatives are following up with the individual to see if additional Wyoming residents are at higher risk of contracting monkeypox due to direct contact with the adult man, who was tested within the 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.”
Vaccines meant to help prevent monkeypox have been available on a limited, targeted basis across Wyoming for the past two weeks.
Sweetwater County Public Health announced on Aug. 10 that the Jynneos vaccine was available to Sweetwater County residents through Public Health.
On Aug. 9, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Jynneos vaccine to allow healthcare providers to use the vaccine by intradermal injection for individuals 18 years of age and older who are determined to be at high risk for monkeypox infection. Jynneos, the Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccine, was approved in 2019 for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox disease.
“We do want to prevent further spread within our state as much as possible,” Harrist said. “That’s why we will recommend vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and also for people who may be more likely to get monkeypox based on the current outbreak and how it has been spreading.”
Certain people are eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if they live or work in Wyoming, 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, and sex workers of any sex.
“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 its spreading,” Harrist said. “The goal is to put available vaccine supplies to the best possible use.”
Eligible individuals interested in vaccination appointments can contact Sweetwater County Public Health at (307) 922-5390.
While available monkeypox vaccine doses are being provided by the federal government through the state at no cost, a small administration fee may be charged.
Monkeypox is characterized by a rash with other symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. Monkeypox is rarely fatal but is unpleasant and painful and can cause serious illness in some people. Experts have been tracking a growing outbreak of monkeypox in areas that don’t normally report the disease, including across the United States.
More Wyoming-related information and updates about monkeypox can be found at the Wyoming Department of Health website.