The person recently traveled overseas, sought medical attention and initially tested positive.
“Confirmation is currently pending testing at the CDC,” said Dr. Monika Roy, assistant health officer and communicable disease controller for the Santa County Public Health Department. “This individual is in isolation, and the Department of Public Health is tracking people with whom the individual may have had close contact.”
It is this “close contact” that presents some concern, she added.
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Health experts have pointed to three higher risk groups, which include people with prolonged close contact with an infected person and those with a history of international travel – particularly to countries with monkeypox.
The third group, as Dr. Roy explains, “Regionally, people who identify as gay, trans, or men who have sex with men are part of this group where we’ve seen a disproportionate number of cases.”
With Pride weekend events coming up, Dr. Roy said all Bay Area counties are working together on messaging to raise awareness.
“I think the key thing the public at large needs to know is that the overall risk of monkeypox is low,” Dr Roy explained. “The most important thing for people to do is – if they have symptoms of a rash – especially if they have a new partner, to seek treatment from a medical professional.”
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After more than two years on COVID-19, Dr. Jorge Salinas of Infectious Diseases at Stanford Health said two global outbreaks of emerging infections back to back were not common.
However, he encouraged the pandemic potential of monkeypox to be low.
“In my experience so far, people potentially affected by this outbreak are aware of that,” Dr. Salinas said. “And seek care if they recognize some of the characteristic signs or rashes associated with monkeypox infection.”
He continued, “I think those are signs of our times. Signs of heavy socialization, of international travel. And I think overall as a society we need to apply the same lessons of COVID. We We have to invest in public health. We have to invest in preparedness, in putting surveillance systems in place, in laboratory capacity to diagnose infectious diseases.”
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Stanford Medicine’s Clinical Virology Laboratory is now one of the first clinical sites in the nation to test for monkeypox.
The lab was launched on Wednesday and confirmed that the sample and case in question had been processed in its lab.
Looking ahead, Dr Roy shared: “We can look forward to this week and the weeks to come, to see many more labs that will provide testing capacity for monkeypox.”
Dr. Roy anticipates confirmation from the CDC in the coming days.
“We expected to see one case. We anticipate seeing more,” she told ABC7 News. “But I think overall we still think the risk of transmission to the wider community is low.”
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