By KAREN VELIE
San Luis Obispo County health officials reported that for the first time a county resident has tested positive for monkeypox, following an uptick in cases globally and in California. The risk to the general public from this virus remains low, as the virus is usually spread through prolonged, close physical contact.
The individual, who is believed to have contracted the virus while traveling in another part of California, is recovering in isolation and is in good condition. The Public Health Department is in communication with the individual’s close contacts and is providing vaccine to those who have been exposed to the virus.
The vaccine is effective at preventing infection during the period after an individual is exposed to the virus but before symptoms develop.
“Monkeypox spreads through prolonged, close physical contact with someone who has symptoms or with contaminated materials like clothes or bedding,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “It does not spread easily through the air or through brief contact like walking by someone on the street. Anyone who has an unusual rash and is concerned about monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider for an evaluation.”
Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox.
Symptoms of monkeypox usually begin one to two weeks after infection. They include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
People with monkeypox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most will develop the rash or sores.