Stanislaus County has its first case of monkeypox disease

Stanislaus County health officials reported the first case of monkeypox in the county.

A press release on Tuesday said an adult male was infected with monkeypox disease, which has caused outbreaks in the United States and other countries.

The man was in solitary confinement. The press release says he was not hospitalized. Additional information has not been released due to medical confidentiality.

County Public Health said the local risk of contracting monkeypox is low. Symptoms include a rash anywhere on the body, flu-like symptoms, and swollen lymph nodes.

According to health experts, the monkeypox virus is spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids. Most cases result from intimate contact with an infected person.

“The United States is currently experiencing an outbreak of monkeypox, and there will likely be more cases in Stanislaus County in the coming weeks,” said county public health officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan. “We are asking members of our community to educate themselves about the symptoms and how this infection is spreading so they can take steps to protect themselves and others.”

The monkeypox virus can be spread through “respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, hugging, or having sex; and touching objects such as clothing or linens that have already touched the infectious rash or bodily fluids,” the County Health Services Agency press release said.

Over 250 cases of monkeypox have been reported in California. Many people infected in recent outbreaks have a pimple-like or blister-like rash on their face, hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

County health officials said people typically recover in two to four weeks. Most of them do not require hospitalization.

The press release says the disease can be serious for people with weakened immune systems and for children, adults with a history of eczema, or pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is rarely fatal.

County public health personnel said they have contact with the infected person and will monitor any other cases that arise. If infected people have been in contact with anyone, county staff will advise them on how to watch for symptoms and ensure they take precautions.

Anyone with symptoms or recent close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox within the past 21 days is encouraged to contact a health care provider about testing.

The county’s strategy for containing a local outbreak includes education on social media and working with community organizations to let people know about the contagious disease. County Health Services will soon have a web page with detailed information.

According to the press release, people are advised to take precautions such as:

Avoid close contact with people who have a rash resembling monkeypox.

Speak with potential mates to find out if they have symptoms. Avoid close physical contact with anyone showing symptoms, including open sores, sores, or a rash.

Do not touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.

Also, people with an active rash or other symptoms should stay away from people or pets in their household.

There is a monkeypox vaccine but quantities are limited. The vaccine is available to people at high or intermediate risk of exposure to someone infected with monkeypox, said county public health spokesperson Kamlesh Kaur.

Kaur said the county will contact individuals directly and offer the vaccine if they are at risk of exposure to confirmed cases. The California Department of Public Health, which receives a limited supply from the CDC, will provide the vaccine.

Kaur said people who have a rash or suspect symptoms of monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider about testing and what to do next. County Public Health has informed doctors about available tests, what to look for and how to assess risk, she said.

This story was originally published July 19, 2022 1:21 p.m.

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Ken Carlson covers county government and health care for The Modesto Bee. His coverage of public health, medicine, consumer health issues and the healthcare industry appeared in The Bee for 15 years.

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