The state’s Department of Public Health is investigating the first suspected case of monkeypox in California.
A Sacramento County resident is being investigated for a possible monkeypox infection after recently traveling abroad.
Monkeypox is seeing an unprecedented outbreak with more than 200 cases reported in at least 22 countries. UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said there’s no need to panic about the rare but contagious disease.
“My level of concern is low. Right now, the numbers are absolutely not that high in general,” Chin-Hong said.
Riverside County Public Health Director for Disease Control Barbara Cole said currently, there are no monkeypox cases in the county, but cautionary steps are being taken locally.
“In preparing, we’ve sent out a public health advisory to all our hospitals, the physicians in the community, our clinics, to say, ‘here’s what we need you to work look for,'” Cole said.
Monkeypox is a virus found in wild animals like rodents and monkeys. When it infects people, symptoms include fever, aches, fatigue and a worsening rash that can last 2-4 weeks. It’s spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact.
“You really have to have contact with active lesions, or you can have contact with saliva in the time when someone has an infection,” Chin-Hong said. “With monkeypox, you’re thinking about more than three hours of sustained sort of deep contact and intimacy.”
CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) officials are raising awareness in the LGBTQ community that so far, cases have “mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with other men,” a WHO official said.
“The virus doesn’t care if you’re gay, straight, or whatever sexuality you have, it’s really just trying to survive. So right now the cluster is amongst men who have sex with men, but doesn’t mean that other people are not susceptible,” Chin-Hong said. “With monkeypox, you’re thinking about more than three hours of sustained sort of deep contact and intimacy.”
An advisor to the World Health Organization told the Associated Press the “leading theory” to explain the outbreak is sexual transmission at rave parties in Spain and Belgium.
“I don’t think that there’s a great risk to the general community from monkeypox right now in the United States,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston with the CDC. “I think that we need to pay close attention to the communities in which this might be circulating.”
On the suspected case in Sacramento, health officials said contact tracing is underway. They are also working to figure out how many close contacts the patients may have had.
Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.
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