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caption: This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak.
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This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak.
Credit: Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File

Monkeypox arrives in King County: Today So Far

  • Monkeypox has shown up in King County. Here's what to know.
  • Boeing finally makes it to the International Space Station.
  • Washington has a habit of sending youth in crisis to out-of-state boarding schools.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for May 24, 2022.

OK. Here we go. Monkeypox.

Outbreaks of monkeypox have popped up in a few countries over the past month, causing some alarm. In fact, it already has its own Wikipedia page. And now, it's shown up here in King County.

"At this time, we have no evidence that monkeypox is spreading locally, but if there are unrecognized cases, that could be a possibility," said King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin at a special press event Monday.

Here's what to know:

  • King County health officials are calling it a "presumptive" case. It involves a man who traveled to another country where there is an outbreak. They have had contact with fewer than a dozen people since, which is not many (a 2001 monkeypox case in the U.S. involved more than 200 potential contacts).
  • There are two main strains of monkeypox, and this appears to be the less-deadly one. The smallpox vaccine provides some protection. There is already a monkeypox vaccine that officials are currently considering for high-risk people.
  • What is unusual about the current outbreaks are that they are occurring in different countries, all at the same time. There have been a handful of cases of in the United States in recent years, usually involving people who travelled outside the country, or who imported animals. The last major outbreak was in 2003, when 47 people across six states were infected via imported pets. All U.S. patients have fully recovered in the past.
  • Unlike Covid (which we are currently having another surge of), monkeypox is quite controllable. It spreads when a person presents symptoms — pox on their skin. So basically, don't go near that person or touch their linens, clothes, etc. Early symptoms include fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms can last up to four weeks.

The King County man is currently isolating, and anyone he could have potentially exposed has been contacted. And as for the rest of us, the CDC's monkeypox recommendations are not too different than what we've been practicing for two years — wash your hands and use alcohol sanitizer.

In my opinion, the biggest threat posed by monkeypox right now is the inevitable conspiracy theories, or whatever "truthers" can cook up online. So be on guard for that.

What else we're reporting...

Boeing has finally entered the space race. The aerospace company has been chasing SpaceX and Blue Origin, which have a head start in the space economy. With the successful docking of Boeing's Starliner at the International Space Station this week, the company is likely to soon start making more regular trips. The trip this week only had a dummy on board, named Rosie Rocketeer. But astronauts could be using a Starliner to make trips by the end of the year.

It's good news for Boeing, which has lagged in this space race. It's had to fix software problems. And its previous test flight put it in the wrong orbit. Read more here.

Washington has a habit of sending youth in crisis to out-of-state boarding schools. There's a lot of information in this story, so I suggest you go read Austin Jenkin's reporting here. But the short version is that our state has its share of students who need extra care, whether that's because of autism-related needs or other conditions. The pandemic hampered a lot of assistance these kids were used to. So when things get tough in our special education system, it's not uncommon for the state to send kids to boarding schools in Montana or Texas. That's what Marie is currently dealing with, after her son Brennan was sent out of state. Read the full story here.

AS SEEN ON KUOW

caption: An American pika perched on a talus slope, showing off its distinctive round ears and stone-colored fur.
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An American pika perched on a talus slope, showing off its distinctive round ears and stone-colored fur.

An American pika perched on a talus slope, showing off its distinctive round ears and stone-colored fur. It's sometimes likened to Pokemon’s Pikachu, is a furry member of the rabbit family that’s about the size of a baked potato. They rely on cold temperatures, snowpack, and meadows of fresh flowers. And they're extremely vulnerable to climate change. That’s where the public comes in. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

DID YOU KNOW?

Jimi Hendrix’s first gig as a musician was at a Jewish temple in Seattle that is still there today ... sort of. Hendrix was known to frequent a club outside of Seattle called the Spanish Castle (which he wrote a song about). He picked up a thing or two there, musically, and was inspired to perform. That inspiration led to his first gig with an unnamed group in the Jaffe Room at Temple De Hirsch located at Union Street and 15th Avenue sometime in the late 1950s. Apparently, he was fired between sets because he was showing off too much. Obviously, he didn’t give up there.

The physical temple building where Jimi performed was torn down in 1993, but the congregation is still located on the block with an updated building. The Temple De Hirsch congregation goes back to 1899. The modern Temple De Hirsch Sinai is the largest Reform congregation in the Northwest.

ALSO ON OUR MINDS

wheat farm farming crop
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With food prices continuing to climb, the UN is warning of crippling global shortages

Fears of a global food crisis are growing due to the shock of the war in Ukraine, climate change and rising inflation. Last week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned of "the specter of a global food shortage in the coming months" without urgent international action.

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