The Santa Clara County department of public health announced the county’s first probable case of monkeypox Thursday afternoon. The individual had traveled internationally before testing positive and is now in isolation. Confirmation of the case is pending CDC testing.
According to the department of public health’s website, monkeypox poses a relatively low risk to the public because it requires prolonged contact — either skin-to-skin or with bodily fluids. The virus can be spread via crowded and indoor spaces, sex, kissing, close breathing and shared clothing or bedding.
“Monkeypox often historically has presented first with nonspecific flu-like symptoms, followed, several days later, with a rash,” said Dr. Monika Roy, assistant public health officer in a press conference. “The rash for monkeypox is actually quite unique. … We are working closely with healthcare providers to make sure they know what that rash looks like.”
Individuals who have had close contact with a known infected person; have a history of international travel, particularly to countries where monkeypox has been reported; and who identify as gay, trans, or men who have sex with men are at higher risk of becoming infected, though people of any gender and sexual identity can become infected and spread the disease according to the department of public health.
Most cases of monkeypox resolve on their own in two to four weeks, according to the department of public health. Post-exposure vaccination is available through all healthcare providers.
“At this time there is not a recommendation if you do not have a history of close contact with a case to receive a vaccination, but this situation is evolving,” Roy said. “It’s possible that that recommendation may change in the future.”