Monkeypox ‘likely’ in Sacramento County patient who recently traveled to Europe, health officials say

Monkeypox ‘likely’ in Sacramento County patient who recently traveled to Europe, health officials say

Sacramento County public health officials are investigating a “likely” case of monkeypox virus related to travel in Europe, officials announced Tuesday morning. If confirmed, this would be California’s first monkeypox case. A health provider alerted the county about the suspected case on May 21 and on Monday local health officials got the results of a preliminary PCR test that was a match for orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses that includes monkeypox, Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said.| VIDEO BELOW | Health experts caution against panic, encourage awareness about monkeypox outbreakThe patient still needs confirmation testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a California Department of Public Health lab in Richmond, but officials say monkeypox confirmation is likely based on symptoms. The person is isolated at home, and officials said the risk to the general public is “extremely low.”The individual is “not hospitalized and is doing well,” Kasirye said. | MORE | Explainer: What is monkeypox and where is it spreading?Monkeypox virus can be transmitted when a person comes into contact with an animal, human or materials like clothing or bedding contaminated with the virus. The virus can enter the body through the broken skin, respiratory tract, or mucous membranes, which include the eyes, mouth and nose. Transmission mainly occurs by large droplets, Kasirye said. Health officials say that monkeypox is a rare diagnosis in the United States, as it does not naturally occur in the country.| RELATED | US to release monkeypox vaccine from national stockpile for ‘high-risk’ people, CDC saysKasirye would not say when the person traveled, what airport they used or how long they were back in Sacramento County before going to a health provider. She said that contact tracing is happening now and that officials are still trying to determine how many contacts the person had. The county is coordinating with CDPH and the CDC about making a determination on whether any people on the same flight needed to be contacted, Kasirye said. A vaccine can be used in an “outbreak setting” and has to be ordered from the CDC, Kasirye said. That determination hasn’t been made yet. What is monkeypox? What are the symptoms? Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes chills, and exhaustion. The patient can also develop a rash days later that often begins in the face and spreads to other parts of the body. It can cause lesions. The illness can last anywhere from two to four weeks. Some people only develop the rash as their first symptom, Kasirye said. Kasirye said that monkeypox “is not as transmissible as COVID” and all cases so far have been “mild.” | MORE | Health experts caution against panic, encourage awareness about monkeypox outbreakMonkeypox was first identified in 1958 and mostly is found in Central and West African countries, CDPH says. There have been occasional cases in the U.S., including a 2003 outbreak in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin from imported prairie dogs that had 47 confirmed and probable cases. | VIDEO BELOW | Wisconsin monkeypox survivor recalls 2003 outbreakThe CDC said it is now tracking “clusters” of cases in Europe and North America.“It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox but cases include people who self-identify as men who have sex with men,” the CDC said.  “CDC is urging health care providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”The virus has popped up in several countries recently, something health experts say is unusual.In the U.S., the CDC has confirmed one case of monkeypox in Massachusetts. Four other cases of orthopoxvirus have been confirmed in New York, Florida and Utah. Those cases are undergoing further testing to confirm they are monkeypox. | VIDEO BELOW | NYC investigating one potential case of monkeypoxSo far, of the confirmed monkeypox and orthopoxvirus cases, the CDC said all are men who have traveled outside of the country. Kasirye said that it was important for anyone exhibiting symptoms, especially an unusual rash, to get checked out by their provider. People should also be aware of monkeypox if they have travel plans to Europe, she said. California health officials call for providers to be alert for patients with rashes consistent with monkeypox.”Because the disease is rare, health care providers may not be familiar with the presentation of monkeypox and the possibility of monkeypox transmission during intimate or sexual contact may not be well known,” California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a statement. “As such, CDPH is promoting awareness amongst healthcare providers and the public, including appropriate infection control for monkeypox cases in the healthcare setting.”

Sacramento County public health officials are investigating a “likely” case of monkeypox virus related to travel in Europe, officials announced Tuesday morning. If confirmed, this would be California’s first monkeypox case.

A health provider alerted the county about the suspected case on May 21 and on Monday local health officials got the results of a preliminary PCR test that was a match for orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses that includes monkeypox, Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said.

| VIDEO BELOW | Health experts caution against panic, encourage awareness about monkeypox outbreak

The patient still needs confirmation testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a California Department of Public Health lab in Richmond, but officials say monkeypox confirmation is likely based on symptoms.

The person is isolated at home, and officials said the risk to the general public is “extremely low.”

The individual is “not hospitalized and is doing well,” Kasirye said.

| MORE | Explainer: What is monkeypox and where is it spreading?

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Monkeypox virus can be transmitted when a person comes into contact with an animal, human or materials like clothing or bedding contaminated with the virus. The virus can enter the body through the broken skin, respiratory tract, or mucous membranes, which include the eyes, mouth and nose.

Transmission mainly occurs by large droplets, Kasirye said.

Health officials say that monkeypox is a rare diagnosis in the United States, as it does not naturally occur in the country.

| RELATED | US to release monkeypox vaccine from national stockpile for ‘high-risk’ people, CDC says

Kasirye would not say when the person traveled, what airport they used or how long they were back in Sacramento County before going to a health provider.

She said that contact tracing is happening now and that officials are still trying to determine how many contacts the person had. The county is coordinating with CDPH and the CDC about making a determination on whether any people on the same flight needed to be contacted, Kasirye said.

A vaccine can be used in an “outbreak setting” and has to be ordered from the CDC, Kasirye said. That determination hasn’t been made yet.

What is monkeypox? What are the symptoms?

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes chills, and exhaustion. The patient can also develop a rash days later that often begins in the face and spreads to other parts of the body. It can cause lesions. The illness can last anywhere from two to four weeks. Some people only develop the rash as their first symptom, Kasirye said.

Kasirye said that monkeypox “is not as transmissible as COVID” and all cases so far have been “mild.”

| MORE | Health experts caution against panic, encourage awareness about monkeypox outbreak

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and mostly is found in Central and West African countries, CDPH says.

There have been occasional cases in the U.S., including a 2003 outbreak in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin from imported prairie dogs that had 47 confirmed and probable cases.

| VIDEO BELOW | Wisconsin monkeypox survivor recalls 2003 outbreak

The CDC said it is now tracking “clusters” of cases in Europe and North America.

“It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox but cases include people who self-identify as men who have sex with men,” the CDC said.  “CDC is urging health care providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”

The virus has popped up in several countries recently, something health experts say is unusual.

In the U.S., the CDC has confirmed one case of monkeypox in Massachusetts. Four other cases of orthopoxvirus have been confirmed in New York, Florida and Utah. Those cases are undergoing further testing to confirm they are monkeypox.

| VIDEO BELOW | NYC investigating one potential case of monkeypox

So far, of the confirmed monkeypox and orthopoxvirus cases, the CDC said all are men who have traveled outside of the country.

Kasirye said that it was important for anyone exhibiting symptoms, especially an unusual rash, to get checked out by their provider.

People should also be aware of monkeypox if they have travel plans to Europe, she said.

California health officials call for providers to be alert for patients with rashes consistent with monkeypox.

“Because the disease is rare, health care providers may not be familiar with the presentation of monkeypox and the possibility of monkeypox transmission during intimate or sexual contact may not be well known,” California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a statement. “As such, CDPH is promoting awareness amongst healthcare providers and the public, including appropriate infection control for monkeypox cases in the healthcare setting.”

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