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First Monkeypox Case in Los Angeles County Awaiting CDC Confirmation

Typically, the disease begins with flu-like symptoms, which can include a fever and headache, and fatigue

June 2, 2022 - Los Angeles County public health officials announced this morning that they believe an adult resident has contracted a monkeypox infection. If the case is confirmed by the CDC, it will be the first case in the county, though not the first in the state, which was announced on May 26.

The individual believed to have monkeypox recently traveled, say public officials, and had a known "close contact" with a case. That patient is symptomatic but not hospitalized although they are isolating from others.

Monkeypox is not usually a serious disease but it can be, said Barbara Ferrer, Director of LA County Public Health, last week. It does not usually occur in the United States and has been confined to Africa until very recently. Typically, the disease begins with flu-like symptoms, which can include a fever and headache, and fatigue. Swollen lymph nodes are also common. The disease then progresses to include a rash. The disease is most dangerous to children, pregnant women, and those with suppressed immune systems, according to Wikipeda.

Unlike Covid-19, which spreads through air particles, monkeypox is not easily transmitted from one person to another. According to the LADPH last week, monkeypox can spread "through contact with body fluids, sores, contaminated objects, prolonged face-to-face contact, and contact with infected animals or animal products." This week, the health department added "shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox" and "through saliva or respiratory droplets."

"It is not generally considered a sexually transmitted disease," Ferrer said, "but it can be transmitted sexually." Today's press release from the LADPH says, "remember that monkeypox can spread through sexual networks, as such," and asks residents to "be vigilant."

A previous outbreak occurred in the United States in 2003 with infected rats imported from Ghana.

If you believe you have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms, such as a rash in the genital or perianal area, the health department urges you to contact your healthcare provider, especially if you've recently traveled. If you do not have a doctor, you can call 2-1-1 or go to a Public Health sexual health clinic.


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