Gov. Jay Inslee today issued Directive 22-18 to expand upon the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) ongoing efforts to prevent and control the spread of the monkeypox virus (MPV). MPV has spread across several countries, and the U.S. has been tracking MPV since the first U.S. case was confirmed on May 17, 2022. As of August 11, 2022, there are approximately 10,768 cases of MPV in the U.S. and 254 cases in Washington.
Although rarely fatal, MPV can be extremely painful and scarring. There are existing vaccines to help prevent infection and reduce the severity of illness. There are currently no known deaths due to this virus in Washington, however this outbreak is an evolving serious public health concern. It is critical that DOH continues to utilize every tool at its disposal to prevent and control the spread of this virus.
As a result of this evolving public health concern, the directive orders DOH to take a broad range of actions, including:
- Conducting comprehensive public outreach and education within appropriate communities;
- Prioritizing equitable distribution of existing treatments;
- Supporting provider education to ensure MPV vaccine is maximized;
- Monitoring case counts and demographic data;
- Convening a series of roundtables with key stakeholders and legislators;
- Working with and supporting local health jurisdictions; and
- Maintaining adequate testing capacity and addressing identified reporting gaps.
"Public health is at stake and we must continue to protect Washingtonians and do what we can to help control the spread of monkeypox. Thank you to our Department of Health for taking these actions," said Inslee.