Monkeypox disease
Monkeypox. Photo by Berkay Ataseven on Shutterbox

The first possible monkeypox case surfaced in Riverside County, but health officials Wednesday were trying to determine if it’s authentic, noting that there is no public health threat.

“We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the case to determine the best course of action moving forward,” county Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung said. “Given that there have been other probable cases in the region, it is not surprising that we would have one in Riverside County.”

The individual who manifested signs of the disease was identified only as a 60-year-old eastern county man. He is undergoing treatment in an outpatient setting and didn’t require hospitalization, according to the Department of Public Health.

Preliminary tests on tissue samples taken from the patient indicated he was positive for monkeypox, formally designated orthopoxvirus, officials said.

Probable cases have also cropped up in neighboring Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Federal health officials have categorized the general health threat from monkeypox as low.

It’s 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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue, officials said. 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 published reports.

Anyone concerned about exposure was asked to contact his or her health provider.

A total of 37 cases have been documented in California — the highest of any state — while nationwide, the aggregate count is at 140, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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