The first case of monkeypox in Santa Barbara County has been confirmed.
Health officials said the infected person was exposed outside of Santa Barbara County and is in isolation right now.
Anyone exposed is also being closely monitored.
“It’s top on everyone’s list of something to learn about, it’s something new for all of us,” said Dr. Brian Roberts with Med Stop Urgent Care Center in San Luis Obispo.
Santa Barbara County health officials reported the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the county on Wednesday.
“Whenever a clinician identifies an individual with a rash that is suspect for monkeypox, the individual will be sent for testing,” said Paige Batson, Deputy Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
Healthcare providers are required to report suspected cases to the county which is alerted through an electronic lab system.
“We don’t need to wait for confirmation, so we are alerted pretty quickly by the provider when an individual is suspected of having monkeypox and is being tested,” said Batson.
Monkeypox starts with flu-like symptoms that begin one to weeks after exposure. They include a cough, fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes chills, and exhaustion.
“There’s nothing really specific about it until you get the rash,” said Dr. Roberts.
Next comes the red rash that turns into what looks like a blister.
“It’s usually very active for about a week and generally pretty painful. Some people call it itchy but most people are pretty uncomfortable with it,” added Dr. Roberts.
Monkeypox is not nearly as contagious as the flu or COVID-19. It is most commonly spread through intimate contact that involves direct contact with the rash, scabs, or body fluid.
“We do isolate the infectious individual until all scabs have scabbed over,” said Batson.
County health officials have completed contact tracing for this first case but are preparing for more cases.
The rash from monkeypox typically takes two to four weeks to completely clear up.
While other cases have been confirmed throughout California, none have been reported yet in San Luis Obispo.