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Wyoming confirms 1st monkeypox case; outbreak reaches all 50 states

A volunteer hands out leaflets offering monkeypox vaccinations at a fetish and leather festival on Folsom Street in San Francisco on July 31. On Monday, Wyoming confirmed its first case of monkeypox, meaning the outbreak as spread to all 50 U.S. states. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
A volunteer hands out leaflets offering monkeypox vaccinations at a fetish and leather festival on Folsom Street in San Francisco on July 31. On Monday, Wyoming confirmed its first case of monkeypox, meaning the outbreak as spread to all 50 U.S. states. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Health officials in Wyoming on Monday confirmed its first case of the monkeypox virus, meaning the outbreak has reached all 50 U.S. states.

The Wyoming Department of Health announced its first case in a statement, saying a resident of Laramie County, which is home to the state capital of Cheyenne, had tested positive for the virus.

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"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," Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer with the Wyoming Department of Health, said. "Monkeypox does not spread easily like familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19."

With its confirmation, Wyoming becomes the 50th state to diagnose at least one monkeypox infection in the current outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., have also reported infections, it said.

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The United States confirmed its first infection of the current outbreak mid-May in a Massachusetts patient with recent travel to Canada.

Since then, health officials have confirmed a total of 15,433 monkeypox infections, according to data from the CDC, with New York tallying the most cases at 2,910, followed by California at 2,663 and Florida with 1,588.

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The announcement comes as the Biden administration has been criticized for its handling of the outbreak as it tries to secure more vaccines amid a worldwide shortage of doses as dozens of countries have confirmed cases.

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The first case of the current outbreak was diagnosed in Britain in early May. By late July, the virus had spread to such a degree that the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the CDC reports nearly 43,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

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