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News Release
Dr. Katie Sharff, Chief of Infectious Disease for Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore.
Dr. Katie Sharff, Chief of Infectious Disease for Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore.
hMPXV (Monkeypox) in Oregon: Interviews with Dr. Sharff, Chief of Infectious Disease (Photo) - 08/08/22

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 8, 2022): As Human Monkeypox Virus (hMPXV) cases rise in Oregon and nationwide, Kaiser Permanente will begin administering vaccines to high-risk individuals in the Northwest on Tuesday August 9th. We encourage people to be aware of this illness, understand how the virus spreads, and know what precautions and treatments are available.

Dr. Katie Sharff, Chief of Infectious Disease for Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore., encourages the public to be aware of the virus and take it seriously, but not to panic. “We don’t believe the current hMPXV outbreak will mirror the COVID-19 pandemic because hMPXV simply doesn't spread as easily as COVID does, and it’s rarely fatal.”

“That being said, the symptoms of monkeypox can be very uncomfortable and debilitating for some patients, so it is important we educate about this disease and maximize strategies to reduce spread,” continued Dr. Sharff. “Most cases resolve with supportive care, and we also have developed vaccines that can be used to prevent hMPXV infection. Vaccine supply is currently very limited, but we anticipate it will increase over time.”

There are more than 7,100 confirmed cases of hMPXV in the US and it has been declared a public health emergency. Most cases of hMPXV have been transmitted through close, personal, and skin-to-skin contact, including during sex. While the majority of cases thus far have been among men who have sex with men, anyone can be affected by hMPXV, and it is essential to educate and avoid stigma with this infection.

Interviews available:
Dr. Katie Sharff, Chief of Infectious Disease for Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore, is available for Zoom interviews with media from 1-3 p.m. on Monday, August 8; or noon-1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9. Contact karen.a.vitt@kp.org to schedule.

Dr. Sharff is prepared to discuss:

Human Monkeypox Virus (hMPXV)

  • What is hMPXV and what are the symptoms?
  • How does hMPXV spread?
  • What can you do to decrease risk for exposure to hMPXV?
  • What should you do if you’ve been exposed?

hMPXV testing and treatment

  • Is testing available for hMPXV?
  • How is monkeypox treated?

hMPXV Vaccines

  • What hMPXV vaccines are available?
  • Who should get vaccinated?
  • Where can you access the vaccines?

For 75 years, Kaiser Permanente has been committed to shaping the future of health and health care — and helping our members, patients, and communities experience more healthy years. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Since July 21, 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission has been to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

For more information, please visit: about.kaiserpermanente.org

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