Last week, Los Angeles County health officials confirmed the first presumptive case of monkeypox while awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Public Health has been closely monitoring developments in an international monkeypox outbreak. The patient is an adult resident who recently traveled and had a known close contact to a case. While the patient is symptomatic, they are said to be doing well and not hospitalized. This person has been isolated from others.
At press time, 19 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the United States. World health officials have grown increasingly concerned due to cases that have popped up in unusual locations, such as the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal.
Monkeypox is usually restricted to Central and West Africa. Cases in Europe and the United States are rare.
“However, cases have occurred in these countries that are associated with international travel or animals imported from areas where the disease is more common,” according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “The current clusters involve persons who have not traveled to areas where the disease is common or had exposure to animals. It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox but cases include individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men. CDC is currently working with international partners to better understand the risk factors associated with current cases and clusters.”
Monkeypox generally begins with flu-like symptoms but can lead to facial and body rashes.
“In parts of Central and west Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products,” according to DPH.
People who think they may have been exposed or develop symptoms, most notably rashes or lesions, should contact a healthcare provider.