Breanna Reeves |
Riverside County reported two additional “probable” cases of monkeypox in the region on July 8, following the confirmation of the county’s first case by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jose Arballo Jr., Senior Public Information Specialist at Riverside University Health System-Public Health, tweeted that the two probable cases are men who live in eastern Riverside County who are younger than 60 years old.
Monkeypox cases are slowly increasing throughout the state and the U.S. According to the CDC, there are 148 confirmed cases in California. There are currently a total of 866 cases in the U.S.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the same family of viruses that includes smallpox. The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) noted that the virus previously occurred in the U.S. rarely and has mostly been related to international travel or the importation of animals.
Symptoms of monkeypox may include fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and later on (one to three days) following in initial symptoms, the development of rash or sores.
How the virus spreads
The virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, sexual or intimate contact, sharing unwashed clothing and respiratory interactions through “prolonged face-to-face interactions” with someone who may have monkeypox. It is not spread through casual conversations or by touching items.
Local and state health departments are working to increase vaccine availability for use in current and future monkeypox outbreaks. On July 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that they ordered 2.5 million doses of Bavarian Nordic’s JYNNEOS, an FDA-licensed vaccine that is used in the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox.
“We are working around-the-clock with public health officials in states and large metro areas to provide them with vaccines and treatments to respond to the current monkeypox outbreak,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “This order of additional JYNNEOS vaccine will help us push out more vaccines quickly, knowing that we have more doses on the way in the coming months – and is only possible because of our longstanding investment in smallpox and monkeypox preparedness.”
While health officials are working to bolster the availability of vaccines, local health departments have a limited supply of the vaccines that are available as “part of post exposure treatment,” according to Arballo. Currently, the county does not have enough of a supply for pre-exposure use.
“Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to monkeypox should contact their primary care provider, who will go over the symptoms and signs of the virus and determine whether testing is warranted,” Arballo stated in an email.