Monkeypox Is Coming: First Case Confirmed Today in Humboldt County, County Public Health Division Says | Lost Coast Outpost

The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Branch today confirmed the first case of monkeypox in a Humboldt County resident.

This is the first confirmed case of infection in the county. Currently, the sick person is doing well, is isolating at home and does not seem to have close contacts locally.

Monkeypox is a viral infection that is spread through close personal contact, including skin-to-skin contact, kissing, and sex. Symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Muscle pain and back pain

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Chills

  • Exhaustion

  • Sore throat, stuffy nose or cough.

It can also be a rash located on or near the genitals or anus, as well as other areas such as the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash may look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. The rash will typically go through several stages, including scabs before healing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic infection caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same family as smallpox but is less serious. The monkeypox virus is transmitted to humans from infected humans, animals and materials contaminated with the virus. The current epidemic has primarily affected gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men. Although the risk to the general US population is low, the following tips can help you stay safe:

  • Practice good hand hygiene

  • Always tell your intimate partner(s) about recent illness and be aware of any new or unexplained sores or rashes on your or your partner’s body, including mouth, genitals , anus and hands

  • Avoid intimate contact, including sex, with people who have symptoms such as sores or rashes

  • Avoid contact with infected animals and materials containing the virus

  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a mask, gown, and gloves when caring for people with symptoms

  • Infected people should self-isolate until their symptoms, including rashes, have cleared completely.

DHHS Public Health received an allocation of 20 monkeypox vaccines earlier this month. About a quarter of the stipend will be used to vaccinate staff in Humboldt and Del Norte counties who will be tasked with vaccinating community members. Additional vaccines are available in the event of an epidemic. Staff also worked closely with the California Department of Public Health and were able to place an order earlier this week for more vaccines. They should arrive soon.

Additionally, a small number of vaccines have been sent to Public Health for lab personnel who will be testing monkeypox samples in the lab.

Public Health also recently received more than 400 doses of an antiviral drug that would be made available to people with serious complications.

Additionally, people at high risk for severe monkeypox who are immunocompromised, age 8 or younger, pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a history of skin disease may also be eligible for the drug.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Candy Stockton said public health personnel are fully equipped to respond to this case. “The experience gained over more than two years of responding to COVID-19 has provided staff with plenty of practice to mobilize quickly to help administer vaccines and prepare individuals with the appropriate medications.”

Dr Stockton added: “There is a significant difference between how monkeypox and COVID are spread. Cases of monkeypox will not result in widespread school and business closures in our community.

While monkeypox is endemic in many countries in West and Central Africa, recent cases of monkeypox have been reported in non-endemic countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as in other parts of Europe and Australia.

To date, there are just over 7,100 cases of monkeypox in the United States, including over 825 cases in California. On Thursday, the US federal government declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.

If you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive for monkeypox, please contact your health care provider. If you don’t have a provider, call Public Health at 707-445-6200.

To learn more about prevention measures, visit the CDC at
cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/prevention.html.

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