Oakland County launching monkeypox taskforce

Oakland County is launching its own monkeypox task force as an outbreak of the virus in the county continues to spread. So far, there have been 19 cases confirmed in Michigan, including eight in Oakland County.

The U.S. has reported more than a thousand cases of monkeypox since transmission became apparent in the country. 

In hopes of boosting education and coordination of care within the country, Executive Dave Coulter plans to announce the local health department's new push to better expedite treatment Thursday. Health Officer Calandra Green will lead the task force, which will include contact tracing and vaccine distribution.

Also in attendance for the 10 a.m. announcement is Dr. Paul Benson, an HIV specialist who has worked with high-risk populations since the 1980s and has experience with helping reduce community spread.

Monkeypox, which is a mutation of smallpox, spreads through direct contact with an infectious rash, as well as through bodily fluids. Symptoms include fatigue and body aches. According to the state's new website about monkeypox, there are no specific treatments for the illness. However, the disease is similar enough to the smallpox virus that antiviral drugs and vaccines used for one have shown to prevent and treat infections from the other.

The state health department says it has received vaccines for the illness from the country's stockpile.

Here is where the 19 cases have been confirmed:

  • Four in Detroit
  • Two in Kent County
  • Three in Macomb County
  • Eight in Oakland County
  • One in Washtenaw County
  • One in Wayne County