Monkeypox in LA County: How Can You Stay Safe? Apply the same measures used to prevent COVID, doctors say

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The first case of monkeypox in Los Angeles County has yet to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but all signs point to it being there.

What exactly is monkeypox? Is that something to worry about?

Unlike COVID-19, we’ve known about monkeypox for decades, so we’re better prepared.

Sporadic cases occur every year but are usually confined to Africa. But in a few years we will see it spread to other continents and this is one of those years.

It’s not usually fatal, and monkeypox isn’t nearly as communicable as the coronavirus.

Despite additional cases, health officials said monkeypox is not as communicable as COVID and poses a very low risk.

“What I can tell you is that this person has been confirmed to have traveled domestically,” said Dr. LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on the alleged case.

We know that this individual is known to have been in close contact with a case and that the individual is symptomatic and in isolation.

The person is fine and is not hospitalized.

“Monkeypox is a serious disease,” said Paul Chapin of Bavarian Nordic, a company that makes monkeypox vaccines. “However, it is nowhere near as contagious as, for example, COVID. I think while we must take whatever action is necessary to try to contain the outbreak. The general public should not be alarmed.”

Experts say monkeypox is a cousin of the smallpox virus and causes similar but milder symptoms in humans.

It can be transmitted to humans through bites or scratches. Human-to-human transmission occurs either through hugs, touching, or prolonged personal contact.

“It can also be transmitted when someone has a virus that is very close to someone who is coughing and talking loudly,” said Dr. Edward Jones-Lopez, an infectious disease specialist at USC’s Keck Medicine.

He said the same mitigation efforts you’re doing for COVID-19, like wearing a mask and keeping your distance, will protect you.

Symptoms include: headache, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, chills, back pain, lesions, and swollen lymph nodes.

Available vaccines and therapeutics can help contain outbreaks.

“It’s a vaccine that isn’t specific to monkeypox, but it has pretty good cross-protection against smallpox,” Jones-Lopex said.

Some vaccines, including those for monkeypox and rabies, can be given right after exposure to prevent the virus from taking hold in the body.

There are two vaccines in the US national stockpile that can be used for exposure to monkeypox.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Monkeypox in LA County: How Can You Stay Safe? Apply the same measures used to prevent COVID, doctors say

Laura Coffey

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