First probable case of monkeypox diagnosed in Santa Cruz County

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.

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