SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz County has reported its first probable case of monkeypox, a little more than a month after the virus was detected in California.
The Santa Cruz County Public Health Division announced on Tuesday that a county resident was likely positive for the virus after receiving testing through a California Reference Laboratory Network facility. According to the release, the individual is under the care of a medical provider, in isolation and in good condition. County health officials are awaiting confirmatory test results from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We want to emphasize that this is not a disease that spreads easily through the air like COVID-19. However, we do want people who might have been exposed to watch for symptoms and to seek medical care if they develop symptoms,” Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel is quoted in the county release. “While most cases resolve on their own, monkeypox can be serious in rare cases and we want to prevent further spread in the community.”
According to the CDC, the risk to the general population from monkeypox is low and the virus does not spread easily between individuals without close contact. Close contact activities that can result in virus spread include intimate sexual contact, kissing, breathing at very close range or sharing bedding and clothing, according to the county release. It appears as a distinctive rash or sores on the skin that can arise anywhere on the body, including genital regions. It often begins as flu-like symptoms.
Officials say the conditions in which monkeypox is spreading in the U.S. is evolving and health guidance will continue to evolve with it.
California leads the nation in confirmed monkeypox cases with 66 confirmed as of June 28, according to a case count tracker on the CDC’s website. The website notes that U.S. monkeypox cases are very rare and are typically associated with international travel or importing animals from areas in Africa where the disease is more commonly found. Monkeypox cases in the U.S. have been previously detected in November 2021, July 2021 and a significant outbreak occurred in 2003, according to the CDC’s website. The Associated Press reported that the first known case this year was reported in Massachusetts in mid May.
County officials recommend that individuals who have symptoms or may have been exposed to virus contact their health care provider immediately. Clinicians should report suspected monkeypox cases to the county’s Communicable Disease Unit by calling (831) 454-4114.
• Consider wearing a well-fitted mask and cover exposed skin in dense, indoor crowds.• Don’t share bedding, clothing and food or drink with others who exhibit symptoms of monkeypox.• Talk with close physical contacts about their general health including recent rashes and sores.• Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are outbreaks.
After symptoms or exposure
• Cover the area of the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing.• Wear a well-fitted mask.• Avoid skin-to-skin or close contact with others, including sexual contact, until a medical evaluation has been completed.• Contact a health care provider as soon as possible for an evaluation.• Assist public health officials to track others who may have been exposed.• Inform sex partners and other close contacts of symptoms.
For more information visit the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html
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