A day after the State of California declared a state of emergency for Monkeypox on Monday, Aug. 1, San Diego County followed suit and declared a local health emergency. Then on Thursday, Aug. 7, the Biden administration declared a state of emergency as well.
“Governor Newsom and our California Department of Public Health have put us in a position of strength when it comes to addressing Monkeypox outbreaks by declaring an emergency. Our County has been working with the community to distribute vaccines and information, and this action by the State will allow them to better support our County as we administer services,” said Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the County Board of Supervisors.
The county has already taken steps to mitigate the spread of the disease.
San Diego County residents can now receive information about monkeypox via text thanks to the County public information text message alert system..
The system allows County health officials to send real-time information about monkeypox in the region. To sign up to receive the messages, text COSD MONKEYPOX to 468-311.
The system was set up to let County public health officials issue timely information and instructions related to monkeypox in the San Diego region.
Limited Monkeypox vaccine
The County continues to work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community to develop messaging, and education materials, and to administer the limited number of vaccines coming to the area.
Given the scarcity of the monkeypox vaccine and as guided by the California Department of Public Health, the County is focusing on delivering the first doses to as many people at high risk as possible. For the current outbreak, this includes men who have sex with multiple male partners and close contact with reported cases. The County’s approach is in line with strategies in other large jurisdictions with monkeypox outbreaks, including New York and San Francisco.
The state allocates vaccines to counties based on the number of monkeypox and syphilis cases in men reported in a region. To date, San Diego County has received about 3,987 doses and has 46 confirmed and probable cases as of Tuesday, Aug. 2 when the state of emergency was announced. All cases were among men aged 27 to 58. The region’s case count will now be updated each weekday.
The County has also distributed 110 treatment courses of Tecovirimat, a drug used to treat monkeypox, to local health care organizations and County clinics.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that can spread through contact with body fluids, sores on the body of someone who has monkeypox, or from shared items (e.g., clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids from sores of a person with monkeypox.
The disease can also spread between people through saliva or respiratory droplets, typically between people in a prolonged close setting. Although monkeypox is not generally considered a sexually transmitted disease, it can be transmitted during sex through skin-to-skin and other intimate contacts, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, including close contact that may not be necessarily sexual.
Symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than, the signs and symptoms of smallpox, a related but extinct virus. They include:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
A rash usually develops within one to three days after the appearance of fever. This rash can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
Most people who develop monkeypox experience symptoms within seven to 14 days (and up to 21 days) after exposure.
Most people who become infected with monkeypox have a mild illness that improves without treatment over two to four weeks. Monkeypox is contagious and can spread to others once someone has symptoms from it and until scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed.
What people should do
Anyone who thinks they may have symptoms of monkeypox, including unusual rashes or lesions, should contact a healthcare provider right away or call 2-1-1 for more information.
You must have a rash, or spots, to get a monkeypox test. The monkeypox test is done on your skin with a swab at a clinic or health care provider. The swab is rubbed against spots on your skin, or parts of your rash, and then sent to a specialized lab for monkeypox testing. A preliminary lab test result is usually available within a few days.
Those waiting for results are asked to take steps to care for themselves and others. These include:
- Stay home and away from others.
- Put off travel on public transportation.
- Contact your sex partner(s) and people you have had close contact with since the start of your symptoms.
- Protect any pets.
Also, consider using TellYourPartner.org to anonymously inform those you have had close contact with.