State and federal health officials are investigating California’s first suspected case of monkeypox in a Sacramento County resident who recently traveled internationally, the California Department of Public Health announced Tuesday.
Health officials with the CDPH, Sacramento County Public Health Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating the potential monkeypox infection Saturday.
According to the CDPH, the anonymous patient has already tested positive for an orthopoxvirus — a genus of virus that includes smallpox and cowpox in addition to monkeypox — and is awaiting the results of a monkeypox test from the CDC.
CDPH officials said the patient is isolating and receiving “appropriate care and response.”
Meanwhile, the risk of members of the general population contracting monkeypox remains extremely low, according to the state. More than 100 confirmed or suspected cases of the virus have been detected in 12 countries, but only one has been confirmed in the United States.
“Because the disease is rare, health care providers may not be familiar with the presentation of monkeypox and the possibility of monkeypox transmission during intimate or sexual contact may not be well known,” state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said. “As such, CDPH is promoting awareness amongst healthcare providers and the public, including appropriate infection control for monkeypox cases in the healthcare setting.”
Men who identify as gay or bisexual have made up the majority of confirmed or suspected cases globally, but CDC officials have noted that the virus is not exclusive to men who have sex with men and anyone can contract the virus via close contact with an infected person.
The CDPH plans to analyze potential monkeypox specimens at its laboratory in Richmond.
Information about monkeypox from the CDPH’s Division of Communicable Disease Control can be found at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Monkeypox.aspx.