The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Division today confirmed the first case of monkeypox in a Humboldt County resident.
This is the first confirmed case of infection in the county. Currently, the patient is doing well, self-isolating at home and has no close contacts locally.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that is spread through close human contact, including skin-to-skin contact, kissing, and sex. Symptoms of monkeypox include:
Muscle and back pain
Swollen lymph nodes
to be tired
Sore throat, stuffy nose or cough.
It can also include rashes on or near the genitals or anus, as well as other areas such as the arms, legs, chest, face, or mouth. The rash looks like pimples or blisters and can be painful or itchy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a rash usually goes through several stages before it heals.
Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic infection caused by the monkeypox virus, in the same family as smallpox, but less severe. Monkeypox virus is transmitted to humans from infected people, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. The current epidemic has primarily affected gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men. Although the risk to the general US population is low, the following tips can help you stay safe:
Maintain good hand hygiene
Always talk to your intimate partner about recent illness and be aware of any new or unexplained sores or rashes on your or your partner’s body, including the mouth, genitals, anus, and hands.
Avoid intimate contact, including sex, with people who have symptoms such as sores or rashes
Avoid contact with sick animals and materials containing the virus
Use appropriate personal protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves, when caring for people with symptoms
Infected people should be isolated until their symptoms, including the rash, have completely disappeared.
DHHS Public Health received 20 monkeypox vaccines earlier this month. About one-fourth will be used to vaccinate staff responsible for vaccinating community members in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Additional vaccines are available in case of outbreaks. Staff also worked closely with the California Department of Public Health to order more vaccines earlier this week. They are expected to arrive soon.
In addition, a small number of vaccines were sent to Public Health for laboratory staff to test monkeypox samples in the laboratory.
Public health also recently received more than 400 doses of antiviral drugs that will be available to people with severe complications.
Additionally, people who are at risk for monkeypox, are immunocompromised, are younger than 8 years old, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a history of skin disease are also eligible to receive the drug.
Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Candy Stockton said Public Health officials are fully equipped to respond to this case. “The COVID-19 response, which took more than two years, enabled rapid mobilization of staff to help administer vaccines and provide people with adequate medication.”
Dr. Stockton added: “There is a significant difference between monkeypox and the spread of COVID. “A monkeypox outbreak will not cause widespread closures of schools and businesses in our community.”
Although monkeypox is endemic in many countries of Central and West Africa, cases of monkeypox have recently been reported in non-endemic countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as other parts of Europe and Australia.
To date, there have been just over 7,100 cases of monkeypox in the United States, including more than 825 cases in California. The US federal government declared the outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday.
If you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a provider, call Community Health Services at 707-445-6200.
To learn more about prevention steps, visit the CDC