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San Luis Obispo County reports first confirmed case of monkeypox

Posted at 3:30 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 00:47:21-04

Health officials are reporting the first confirmed case of monkeypox in a San Luis Obispo County resident.

According to the Public Health Department, it's believed the patient contracted the virus while traveling in another part of California. They are reportedly in good condition.

County health officials say they've been in contact with the patient's close contacts and those who have been exposed are being provided with a vaccine.

Health officials say the risk to the general public remains low.

“Monkeypox spreads through prolonged, close physical contact with someone who has symptoms or with contaminated materials like clothes or bedding," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. "It does not spread easily through the air or through brief contact like walking by someone on the street. Anyone who has an unusual rash and is concerned about monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider for an evaluation.”

Monkeypox symptoms can include chills, fever, and swollen lymph nodes followed by a rash or sores that may look like pimples, blisters, or ingrown hairs.

Because there is a limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine, the small amount that the SLO County Public Health Department has received is being prioritized for people who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for monkeypox and laboratory workers who regularly handle the virus.

Health officials say you can help protect yourself from monkeypox by following these practices:

  • Talk with your close contacts, including sexual partners, about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body.
  • Avoid close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact with people who have monkeypox symptoms like rashes or sores.
  • Avoid contact with unwashed items or fabrics (bedding, towels, clothing, dishes) used by someone who has monkeypox symptoms like rashes or sores.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
  • If you are caring for someone who has monkeypox and is experiencing symptoms, use appropriate personal protective equipment (like a mask, gown, eye protection, and gloves).

For more information about monkeypox, visit the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department's website.