L.A. County Health Department confirmed the first presumptive case of monkeypox infection and is awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By News Desk
The patient is an adult resident who recently traveled and had a known close contact to a case. Although the patient is symptomatic, they are doing well and not hospitalized. They are isolated from others.
Public Health is continuing to investigate and conduct contact tracing and post-exposure prevention for close contacts.
The risk of monkeypox in the general population remains very low.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that can spread through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox. Monkeypox virus can also spread between people through saliva or respiratory droplets, typically between people in a close setting. Although monkeypox is not generally considered a sexually transmitted infection, it can be transmitted during sex through skin-to-skin and other intimate contact, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
People with monkeypox sometimes develop a flu-like illness with fever, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes followed by a rash. In other instances, people just develop a rash with or without swollen lymph nodes, which can occur on the genitals. People usually develop monkeypox 7 to 14 days (and up to 21 days) after being exposed.
Most people with monkeypox have a mild illness that improves without treatment over 2 to 4 weeks. Treatment is supportive and focused on easing the symptoms of the illness. Monkeypox is contagious and can spread to others until scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed.
What people should do
To prevent the spread of monkeypox in Los Angeles County, we ask individuals to be aware of the risks and how monkeypox spreads. It is also important to remember that monkeypox can spread through sexual networks, as such, and until we learn more, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) urges you to be vigilant. People who have symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the characteristic rash or lesions, should take the following steps:
- Visit a medical provider for an evaluation
- Cover the area of the rash with clothing
- Wear a mask
- Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others
Per the CDC, these steps are particularly recommended for anyone who: 1) recently traveled to an area where monkeypox cases have been reported. You can find a list of the countries where monkeypox has been reported, here on the CDC website. 2) reports contact with a confirmed or suspected monkeypox case.
For any questions about monkeypox, Public Health recommends that you speak to your primary care provider. If you do not have a regular provider, call 2-1-1 for assistance. In addition, people without a regular provider that have developed a rash in the genital or perianal area, can access services at Public Health’s sexual health clinics. Please find a list of Public Health Centers that offer sexual health services here.
What healthcare providers should do
- Monkeypox infection should be considered for patients presenting with skin lesions, especially for those with a history of recent travel to an area with confirmed monkeypox cases. If lesions are characteristic for monkeypox, monkeypox should be considered even in the absence of known travel.
- Those who have known close personal contact with people with monkeypox could potentially also be at risk for the disease.
- Take note that some patients have had genital lesions and the rash may be hard to distinguish from syphilis, herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, chancroid, varicella zoster, and other more common infections.
- Isolate any patients suspected of having monkeypox in a single-person room, and ensure staff understand the importance of wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (gown, gloves, eye protection, and respirator) and that they wear it each time they are near suspected cases.
- Use standard cleaning/disinfectants in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Report all suspected monkeypox cases to Public Health immediately.
- Healthcare professionals need to refer to the following resource for consult and reporting.
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