A second presumed case of monkeypox has been identified in Los Angeles County, health officials said Wednesday, June 8, stressing that the risk of infection in the general population remains low.
The newest patient was described only as an adult who had recently traveled, although further details were not released. The person is showing symptoms but is “doing well and isolating away from others,” according to the county Department of Public Health. Health officials said they are continuing to investigate the case and identify people who had contact with the patient.
It is the second presumptive case of monkeypox announced by the county in the past week. On June 2, the county revealed it had found its first presumed case, which was later verified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That person was an adult who had recently traveled and had “a known close contact to a case,” health officials said. According to the CDC, there have been eight confirmed monkeypox cases in California, and 40 nationally, as of Wednesday, June 8.
County health officials insisted that “the risk of monkeypox in the general population remains very low.” The infection can cause lesser symptoms such as fever and body aches before developing into a rash that spreads across the body. Since monkeypox cases are usually more common in African nations, its appearance in the United States and more than a dozen other countries has generated headlines, particularly among a populace weary of the COVID-19 pandemic. But health officials insist COVID is far more infectious than monkeypox.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that spread of the illness “requires close contact with an infected person or with belongings that the infected person has used.”
“Am I worried we’re going to have a massive outbreak of monkeypox? No,” Ferrer said.
Health officials said the infection spreads through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores or shared items such as bedding or clothing that were contaminated with fluids. It can also be transmitted through saliva and sexual contact. Most people who develop monkeypox have only mild illness that goes away within two to four weeks without treatment. People with symptoms are urged to visit a medical provider, cover the rash area with clothing, wear a mask and avoid close or skin-to-skin contact with others.
The CDC particularly recommends those steps for people who recently traveled to an area where monkeypox cases have been reported, or who have had contact with a confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases. A full list of countries that have confirmed monkeypox cases is available at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/monkeypox.