Monkeypox. Courtesy NHS England High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network via website

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday is expected to ratify a declaration of local emergency issued last week by Mayor Eric Garcetti for the monkeypox outbreak.

The order allows the city to be prepared as vaccine availability increases and move quickly as circumstances evolve, according to a statement by Garcetti last week.

Los Angeles County declared a local emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak last week. The state and federal government have also issued such declarations.

“The city is already supporting the county’s vaccination efforts at city facilities and additional sites are expected to open in the coming days,” Garcetti said. “The declaration is about being prepared, not cause for alarm.”

According to the county, there were 616 confirmed or presumed cases in the county as of Monday, up from about 500 on Friday. The vast majority of patients are men, with most of them being members of the LGBT community, according to the county.

Monkeypox is generally spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting from infectious rashes and scabs, though respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during extended physical episodes, such as sexual intercourse, can also lead to transmission, according to the CDC. It can also be transmitted through the sharing of items such as bedding and towels.

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue.

There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox, or have been vaccinated for it, may have immunity to monkeypox.

According to health officials, the vaccine can prevent infection if given before or shortly after exposure to the virus.

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting the virus, according to the CDC.

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