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OC Health Care Agency confirms the first presumptive case of monkeypox in Orange County

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA), Communicable Disease Control Division (CDCD) has confirmed the first presumptive case of monkeypox infection in Orange County (OC) and is awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While awaiting CDC confirmation of a probable case, the HCA is proceeding with the assumption it is a monkeypox case and is conducting contact tracing and post-exposure prevention for close contacts.

“The Public Health Services (PHS) CDCD team is working with all relevant agencies and partners to track, control, and curtail the spread of monkeypox within the county,” said Dr. Christopher Zimmerman, CDCD Physician. “The affected individual is already in isolation and exposed contacts are in the process to receive post exposure prophylaxis vaccination.”

The outbreak of monkeypox in 50 nations throughout the world has resulted in 4,769 cases as of 06/28/2022. In the United States, there are 306 cases from 28 states.

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an enhanced nationwide vaccination strategy to mitigate the spread of monkeypox. The strategy will expedite vaccinations and protect those at-risk of monkeypox, prioritize vaccines for areas with the highest numbers of cases, and provide guidance to state, territorial, tribal, and local health officials to aide their planning and response efforts. See full report.

As of this time, vaccination soon after exposure can prevent for monkeypox virus infections, the best guidance is to take precautions to prevent monkeypox. Most treatment is supportive, easing the symptoms of illness. However, antivirals developed for use in patients with other viral diseases may prove beneficial in certain cases but are currently available under research protocols. Additionally, some measures including vaccination may be given to prevent the monkeypox infection after a high-risk exposure to the virus.

What people should do:

To prevent the spread of monkeypox in Orange County, we ask individuals to be aware of the risks and how monkeypox spreads. It is also important to remember that monkeypox can spread through sexual networks, and until we learn more, the HCA urges you to be vigilant. People who have symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the characteristic rash or lesions, should take the following steps:

  • Visit a medical provider for an evaluation
  • Cover the area of the rash with clothing
  • Wear a mask
  • Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others
  • Isolate in a separate room or area from family members and pets

Local clinicians who have any suspected cases are advised to immediately contact the HCA’s Communicable Disease Control Division. For additional information see the attached Health Advisory from the California Department of Public Health.
 
The CDC does not currently recommend widespread vaccination against monkeypox. However, vaccination may be recommended for some people who are close personal contacts of people with monkeypox, may have been exposed to the virus, and/or may have increased risk of being exposed to the virus. The HCA has secured some vaccines for individuals who are exposed to the virus through contact with cases. If you are exposed or believe you are at risk, please call or visit your primary care provider.
 
For more information on monkeypox, including case counts, prevention strategies, vaccination and what the HCA is doing in Orange County, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/monkeypox or https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

This article was released by Orange County Health Care Agency.