Tulare County Public Health announces first case of monkeypox

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A press release from Tulare County Health and Human Resources

Tulare County Public Health has confirmed that the first case of Monkeypox has been identified in a Tulare County resident. While the number of probable/confirmed cases is increasing in California (186 cases) and the United States (791 cases), the risk of monkeypox to the general population is low.

Currently, there are no reported deaths from monkeypox in California. Monkeypox is spread through direct, close contact with an infected person. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if it is not visible), respiratory tract or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth) after skin or sexual contact, through bodily fluids or contact with contaminated clothing or linens.

“It is important for our community to be aware of emerging public health threats such as monkeypox; however, currently the risk to the general public is low,” says Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “The case is isolated, recovering at home. We are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding this case, identifying close contacts and advising them of their potential exposure.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is public

health concern as the disease can be spread from humans, animals and materials contaminated with the virus. Symptoms of monkeypox may include flu-like symptoms, a rash on the face, extremities or genital area that may look like pimples or blisters, fever, swollen lymph nodes, general body aches or fatigue . People infected with monkeypox may have all or only some of these symptoms. Most people with monkeypox will develop the characteristic rash.

Monkeypox can be passed on to others from the time symptoms appear until all sores have healed and a new layer of skin has formed, which can take several weeks. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox; however, in limited situations, vaccination (developed to prevent smallpox, a similar virus) may be recommended for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

“It is essential that people who have symptoms or suspect they have monkeypox contact their health care provider immediately,” Dr. Haught said. “There are many other causes of rashes, but it’s always important to let your provider know you have a rash when booking your appointment.”

There are steps residents can take to reduce the spread of monkeypox and protect themselves from infection:

  • Practice good hand hygiene often, with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Wear a properly fitted face mask when around other people
  • Speak with any new partner about their health before any close or intimate contact
  • Avoid close contact with sick people and their bedding, clothing or other materials
  • Stay home and call your provider if you have symptoms or have a new rash
  • Stay informed if you are traveling to countries or major events where there are current outbreaks of monkeypox

People who think they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms of monkeypox should contact a health care provider as soon as possible. For more information on monkeypox, visit the Tulare County HHSA website at: tchhsa.org or the CDPH monkeypox information webpage at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Monkeypox.aspx.

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