El Dorado County issues health advisory on monkeypox
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County Public Health has issued a monkeypox advisory amid increasing numbers throughout the state, including the first county resident contracted the disease.
According to the California Department of Public Health, as of Aug. 11, there have been 1945 cases of MPX reported in California, including 82 in Sacramento County and five in Placer County. The data are regularly being updated by CDPH. To access the most current state data, and for the latest statewide information on MPX, visit the CDPH website at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/monkeypox.aspx.
“The international outbreak of human monkeypox virus infections has been evolving over recent weeks,” said El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams. “The disease is now being called ‘MPX’ (pronounced ‘M-pox’) because, despite the name of the virus, it is not really a disease of monkeys. While news of the growing outbreak may understandably have caused some people to worry, it’s important to understand that the current risk to the public is low.”
The advisory said MPX is an illness that resembles smallpox. It starts with symptoms like fever and chills, followed by a rash. The rash can be painful and take weeks to resolve, but the illness is, overall, much less severe than smallpox and is rarely fatal.
MPX in humans is usually associated with exposure to rodents or other animals in central and west African countries and not normally spread through person-to-person contact. However, this outbreak is different.
“The cases being diagnosed all seem to involve people who have had prolonged skin-to-skin contact with other people,” Williams said. “Nearly all MPX cases identified during the current international outbreak have occurred in people with multiple (often numerous and/or anonymous) sexual partners, and who self-identify as men who have sex with men. Although plausible, it’s extremely unlikely for someone to acquire this illness from incidental and brief contact with people or surfaces.”
According to Williams, the case of MPX recently diagnosed in an El Dorado County resident is being monitored. The infected person had no contact with other people, either within or outside the county, after becoming infected. Public health officials will continue to closely monitor the situation, will quickly respond to any additional cases reported and aid in preventing further spread.
Most people can avoid MPX by following standard recommendations for preventing infectious disease transmission:
· Practice good hand hygiene (washing hands frequently)
· Stay away from other people when you are ill
For those at higher risk, especially men who have sex with men, people who engage in anonymous sex or people who have numerous partners, additional precautions are advised:
— Avoid close physical contact with people who have symptoms, especially if they have sores or rashes
— Talk to your sexual partner(s) about any recent illnesses, and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes
— Avoid contact with personal items that could have been contaminated by a person with MPX (such as by sharing bedding or towels)
— Wear personal protective equipment (mask, gloves, gown) if you can’t avoid close contact with someone who has symptoms
Williams added, “For people who have had recent contact with someone experiencing MPX-like symptoms or who have been diagnosed with MPX, post-exposure prophylaxis may be available in the form of the Jynneos vaccine. Because the vaccine supply is currently limited, it’s being directed for use only if the person involved has been identified through public-health case investigation or contact tracing activities as having been at risk for exposure to the virus.”
For those who believe they have been exposed to the monkeypox virus can call public health at 530-621-6100, Option 3, for more information and guidance. The county has also created a website dedicated to this topic, https://tinyurl.com/3apt5kh2.
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