Long Beach reported its first presumptive case of monkeypox Saturday.
The case concerns an adult Long Beach resident with no recent travel history nor known contacts. The person is symptomatic and recovering and isolating at home, city officials said.
Preliminary test results indicate that the person tested positive for orthopoxvirus, and additional testing will be performed at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to confirm monkeypox. The city’s health department is conducting an extensive contact investigation and offering the vaccine to people who may have been exposed in order to prevent additional cases.
“We are taking monkeypox very seriously, and diligently working to vaccinate people who are at highest risk, understanding that the vaccine is currently in extremely limited supply,” Mayor Robert Garcia said.
Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. It is rarely fatal. The symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, but milder. Symptoms of monkeypox typically include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash that can look like pimples or blisters sometimes appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body.
Those with monkeypox are infectious and should isolate until the rash resolves. People who have symptoms should call their health care provider, who will determine the need for testing. Those who do not have a health care provider and are experiencing symptoms can contact the city of Long Beach’s public health information line at 562-570-7907.
“The risk of monkeypox is very low, but we are continuing our work and taking proactive measures to mitigate further spread,” City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said. “This highlights why public health is important in preparing and empowering our community by offering awareness, education and prevention methods.”
As of July 15, more than 12,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported globally, including 1,814 cases in the United States, 250 in California and 85 in Los Angeles County.
While people of any gender and sexual orientation can acquire and spread monkeypox, most cases have been among men who have sex with men and transgender women.
According to the Long Beach health department, vaccines and antivirals may be given to prevent illness or reduce disease severity, which include the JYNNEOS vaccine. Vaccines are currently in very limited supply, but more are expected in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a health advisory encouraging residents to take precaution to avoid becoming infected with monkeypox, citing a shortage of the Jynneos vaccine.
“Your risk of being exposed can increase when having any kind of sex or other intimate contact, including hugging or kissing, with multiple or anonymous people (such as those met through social media, dating apps, or at parties),” the county health department said. “Clubs, raves, saunas, sex parties and other activities where there is skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with many people may also increase your risk of exposure, especially if people are wearing less clothing.”
In alignment with the county’s strategy of administering vaccine, Long Beach’s health department is currently offering the vaccine to people who:
— have been exposed to someone with confirmed monkeypox and do not have symptoms;
— have been exposed through that specific person will be contacted by the health department;
— have established care at specialty clinics (i.e., STD or HIV clinics) where there was high risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox;
— are gay and bisexual men or transgender people with a diagnosis of rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past three months and have a doctor’s referral or proof of a positive result.