San Francisco has reported its first suspected case of monkey pox, public health officials said Friday.
The person is a San Francisco resident who has traveled to a location with known cases, health officials said. The person is in good condition, isolating and has not reported close contact in San Francisco during the time the person was contagious.
The latter case means there are five confirmed or suspected cases of monkey pox in California.
Los Angeles County reported its first suspected case of monkey pox on Thursday. Sacramento County has reported one confirmed case and two suspected cases, both of which are close contacts to the first case.
Health officials say the risk to the general public is low, in part because monkeypox is not nearly as contagious as COVID-19. LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer said on Thursday there is no sign that people should be concerned about a massive outbreak of monkeypox on the ground, but officials are preparing for more cases.
Monkeypox is much more likely to spread through close, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with someone who has active rashes and sores on the skin from monkeypox. The virus can be spread during sexual and intimate contact and through shared bedding and clothing. It is also possible that it is spread by kissing and breathing at very close range.
In many recent cases, during the early stages of the disease, the rash was mostly in the genital area. The rash can also spread widely over the body.
“We want to emphasize that this is not a disease that spreads easily through the air like COVID-19. However, we do want people who may have been exposed to watch for symptoms and see a health care provider immediately if they develop symptoms for an evaluation,” San Francisco health officer Dr. Susan Philip said in a statement.
“While most cases go away on their own, in rare cases monkeypox can be serious and we want to prevent further spread in the community,” Philip said.
Some recent monkeypox patients have described intense pain.
“It can be really painful and some patients have reported taking prescription painkillers to manage that pain. The sores can also cause long-term scarring of the skin,” said Capt. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the hospital. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, during a news conference Friday.
Most of the recent cases of monkeypox in the US known to the CDC have occurred in men who have sex with men; a recent case involved a woman who had traveled to West Africa. Officials stressed that anyone can become infected and spread monkeypox, including health professionals and family members caring for the sick.
It is traditionally believed that monkeypox starts with a fever and a feeling of being unwell, followed by a rash. But in some cases, the rash appeared first. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. Rare complications include lesions that appear in the eye and can compromise vision.
The monkeypox rash results in well-rounded skin lesions, and as they progress, they turn into papules, which are raised areas of skin that can resemble a pencil eraser, McQuiston said. They can then fill with a clear liquid, which turns into pus.
The rash can resemble syphilis and herpes, which are much more common than monkey pox. McQuiston said it can be confusing to initially differentiate monkeypox from other diseases, which is why health care providers should be on the lookout for possible cases and request a test if they think it could be monkeypox. In some recent cases in Europe, people have been infected with monkey pox as well as a sexually transmitted disease.
“They should test for monkey pox even if they think they have a positive test for another, more common” sexually transmitted infection, McQuiston said.
The recent global monkeypox outbreak has resulted in more than 700 reported cases, McQuiston said. At least 25 cases have been identified in 11 states in the US as of Friday afternoon.
The strain of monkeypox identified in the outbreak is known as the West African strain, which is less severe than other known strains, McQuiston said. In historic outbreaks in Africa, the West African tribe has resulted in fewer deaths.
No deaths have been reported in the current monkeypox outbreak worldwide, McQuiston said. Patients whose cases have been reviewed by the CDC as of Friday are either recovering or have already recovered,” and those who still have a rash are advised to stay at home and away from other people until they have fully recovered. have been restored.”
Full recovery occurs “when all the sores have flaked off, the scabs fall off, and new, healthy skin has emerged,” McQuiston said. A person is no longer contagious when all the scabs have fallen off.
The CDC released new information Friday about the first two cases of monkeypox in this outbreak.
On May 4, two men in the US had symptoms consistent with monkey pox and had recently returned from travel outside the country, McQuiston said.
In Massachusetts, a man developed a rash with fluid-filled skin lesions and sought outpatient medical attention four times. On May 12, he was hospitalized for managing the pain of that rash, McQuiston said.
On May 4 in New York City, a man sought treatment for a lesion in the mouth and a painful rash that also developed into blister-like sores, McQuiston said.
In mid-May, coverage of monkey pox cases widened in Britain. On 7 May, British health officials announced a case of monkey pox in a man returning to Britain from Nigeria, where monkey pox has been on the rise again in the past five years. Then on May 14 and 16, UK health authorities reported more cases not linked by that traveler.
Based on that coverage from Britain, patient care providers from Massachusetts contacted state and CDC officials on May 17, asking them to test the patient’s viral samples. A lab in Massachusetts confirmed the presence of an orthopox virus — a group of viruses that includes monkey pox — and confirmatory tests the next day by CDC confirmed the sample was monkey pox.
Recent cases of monkeypox in the US known to CDC officials have involved adults, McQuiston said, and most reported international travel in the 21 days before their symptoms started. It generally takes seven to 14 days for a person to develop symptoms after monkeypox exposure, but it can take up to 21 days.
McQuiston said authorities are working hard to contain the outbreak.
“Our containment strategy is focused on identifying cases, identifying their contacts and making sure they are offered a vaccine and that cases are isolated to prevent further spread,” McQuiston said.
The recent outbreak is worrying because cases of monkey pox are usually not found in the US, officials said.
Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 in monkey colonies kept for scientific research. The monkeypox virus is most commonly found in rodents and primates in central and western Africa, according to the CDC. The first human case was documented in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.
The only previous outbreak of monkeypox in the US occurred in 2003, leading to 71 confirmed or suspected cases – mostly in Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. Those infected had come into contact with prairie dogs as pets obtained from an animal distributor in suburban Chicago who was housed near Gambian giant rats and dormice coming from Ghana.
Although monkeypox can be deadly in countries where health care is scarce, the 2003 outbreak in the US did not lead to any deaths.