Santa Cruz County public health officials announced Wednesday that the county’s first probable case of monkeypox has been identified in a local resident.
According to the county’s Public Health Division, the resident is isolating and in good condition while awaiting test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The resident initially tested positive at a California Reference Laboratory Network facility, according to the county.
Public health officials stressed that the virus is only spread through skin-to-skin contact or bodily fluids via kissing, breathing at close range, sexual activity and sharing bedding or clothing. The virus is also not spread through airborne transmission like COVID-19 or the flu.
Health experts have also noted that the risk of monkeypox to the general population remains low. According to the California Department of Public Health, 65 probable cases of the virus have been detected statewide, roughly a half-dozen of which have been in the Bay Area.
“While most cases resolve on their own, monkeypox can be serious in rare cases, and we want to prevent further spread in the community,” county Health Officer Dr. Gail Newell said in a statement.
Monkeypox symptoms can include a rash or sores on the skin anywhere on a patient’s body. Contraction of the virus often begins with flu-like symptoms as well.
Last week, health officials in eight Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley called on residents to be aware of the monkeypox virus as summer traveling and gatherings increase.
The virus has also been confirmed globally in many men who identify as gay or bisexual, but CDC officials have stressed that the virus is not exclusive to men who are attracted to men and anyone can contract monkeypox via close contact with an infected person.
Those who suspect they have contracted monkeypox are urged to contact a health care provider and assist in contact tracing.
Information about the virus can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html or https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Monkeypox.aspx.