Long Beach officials report the city’s first suspected case of monkeypox

Long Beach has identified its first suspected case of monkeypox, health officials said Saturday.

An adult Long Beach resident, who has no recent travel history or known contact with other infected people, has tested positive for the orthopoxvirus, and health officials are awaiting further testing to confirm that the individual has monkeypox. Diseases linked to the virus include cowpox, monkeypox and smallpox. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services said it was conducting a “thorough contact investigation” and offering vaccines to people who may have been exposed.

“The risk of monkeypox is very low, but we are continuing our work and taking proactive steps to mitigate the spread,” city health officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a statement.

Monkeypox is rarely fatal but can lead to potentially serious illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that can lead to pimples or blisters.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement that the city “takes monkeypox very seriously and is working diligently to vaccinate those most at risk, knowing that the vaccine is currently in extremely limited supply.” .

Because availability of the Jynneos vaccine remains extremely limited in the United States, officials in Long Beach are offering it to people who have been exposed to someone with monkeypox; people who attended an event or place where there was a high risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox through skin-to-skin or sexual contact; and gay or bisexual men and transgender people who have had rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis in the past three months.

To date, there have been 250 confirmed cases of monkeypox in California – including 85 in Los Angeles County – and 12,000 worldwide. It’s not considered widespread, but LA County has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks.

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