There are currently more than 350 monkeypox cases in California, but locally officials say there are still no confirmed cases in Humboldt County.
With recent outbreaks in the U.S., the federal government has allotted specific amounts of the difficult-to-obtain vaccines to states throughout the country. Counties in California such as San Francisco and Santa Clara have seen large enough allocations to hold mass vaccination clinics. Humboldt County’s current allocation stands at 20 vaccines. In addition, a small number of vaccines were sent to Humboldt County Public Health for laboratory staff who will be testing monkeypox samples in the lab.
Sofia Pereira, the Department of Health & Human Services Public Health Director, said, “With no confirmed cases currently in Humboldt County, our small allocation of vaccines will be used in case of a local outbreak.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccinating people who have had direct contact with someone with a confirmed case of monkeypox within four days of exposure can help prevent onset and further spread of the disease.
She said the local health jurisdictions across the state and the California Department of Public Health are currently petitioning the CDC for more vaccine.
Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic infection caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family as smallpox, but less severe than smallpox. Monkeypox is endemic to many Central and West African countries, however, there have been recent cases of monkeypox reported in non-endemic countries including the U.S., Canada and the U.K., as well as other parts of Europe and Australia.
The monkeypox virus is spread to humans from infected humans, animals and materials contaminated with the virus. Although the risk to the general U.S. population is low, the following tips can help keep you safe:
- Practice good hand hygiene
- Always talk to your intimate partner/s about any recent illness, and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the mouth, genitals and anus
- Avoid intimate contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
- Avoid contact with infected animals and materials contaminated with the virus
- Infected people should isolate until their symptoms, including rash, have gone away completely
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) like a mask, gown and gloves when caring for people with symptoms.
To learn more about prevention steps, visit the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/prevention.html.
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