Monkeypox

County of Lake Health Services is actively monitoring a multi-country monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries, including the United States. In response to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Alert, County of Lake Health Services is partnering with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Rural Association of Northern County Health Officers (RANCHO) and local healthcare providers to enhance surveillance activities, to provide access to post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), to advance policy conversations about risk-based access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and to increase access to treatment.

The risk to the general public is very low, but you should seek medical care immediately if you develop a new, unexplained skin rash (lesions on any part of the body), with or without fever and chills. Current available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic.

Learn more at the CDC website.

Background

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks. The virus does not spread easily between people; transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

Signs & Symptoms

Cases of monkeypox typically begin with flu-like illness. Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the month, or on other parts of the body, like hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus

The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2 to 4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.

How It Spreads

The Monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has Monkeypox.

Monkeypox can be spread through:

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions, sores, scabs, or body fluids
  • Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing or cuddling
  • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone
  • Sharing towels or unwashed clothing
  • Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox)

Monkeypox is not spread through:

  • Casual brief conversations
  • Walking by someone with monkeypox, like in a grocery store

Prevention

You can take steps to prevent getting monkeypox and lower your risk during sex.

Vaccine

JYNNEOS is a vaccine that can help prevent monkeypox infection. JYNNEOS is approved for adults 18 and over. It is a two dose injection series in the upper arm at least four weeks apart. CDC advises that people exposed to monkeypox be given the vaccine to prevent them from developing the disease.

There is an extremely limited supply of JYNNEOS in California and across the United States, although more is expected in the coming weeks and months. Due to limits of vaccine supply, although someone may be eligible for the vaccine does not mean a vaccine is readily available to give.

As of July 27, 2022, County of Lake Health Services has received no doses from CDPH, but has applied for an allocation. Most have been distributed in small numbers to health care providers who care for the highest risk patients. Some are being used to provide Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to known close contacts.

Vaccine Eligibility

Because there are so few vaccines, the JYNNEOS vaccine is prioritized for people who are:

  • A close contact of a suspected or confirmed Monkeypox cases with the past 14 days
  • Notified by a venue or public health authority of a potential exposure to a Monkeypox case at a venue in the past 14 days
  • A close contact of others at an event or within a social group within the past 14 days where one or more Monkeypox case(s) were identified
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) who have had more than two sexual partners in the past 14 days
  • MSM who have tested positive for any sexually transmitted disease in the past month

CDPH is hosting weekly Monkeypox vaccination clinics in the Bay Area. View calendar and more information.

What to Do if You Have Been Exposed

  • Call County of Lake Health Services Communicable Disease Program at 707-263-1090, ext. 9
  • Cover the area of the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing
  • Wear a well-fitted mask
  • Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others, including sexual contact, until a medical evaluation has been completed
  • Contact a health care provider as soon as possible for an evaluation. Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to get tested, even if they don't think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox
  • Assist public health officials to track others who may have been exposed
  • Avoid crowds, close contact, including sexual or intimate contact until seeing your healthcare provider

Travel Advisories

CDC Travel Advisory - Level 2 [Practice Enhanced Precautions] (June 6, 2022).