Health officials reported seven new probable cases of monkeypox among Sacramento County residents on Monday, bringing the county’s total to 21 probable or confirmed infections since late May.
The county reported 13 cases in the past week: two cases last Tuesday and four on Wednesday, ahead of Monday’s seven.
Investigations and contact tracing for the remaining seven cases are ongoing, according to county health spokeswoman Samantha Mott.
“Some appear to be related to previously reported cases in Sacramento County and identified through contact tracing,” Mott said in an email response to The Sacramento Bee.
“Some are people who presented to healthcare providers with symptoms.”
The county, in a news release announcing Wednesday’s four cases, said all four were exposed through domestic travel to other states in the United States.
Sacramento County health officials announced the first resident case of monkeypox on May 24, in a person who recently returned from international travel, followed by four more cases linked via contact tracing.
At least seven of the next nine local cases after those five were linked to domestic travel, according to county health officials. Prior to last Tuesday, the county had gone 19 days without reporting a new case of monkeypox.
Testing expands, along with vaccination clinics
The rise in cases comes as monkeypox testing programs are scaled up nationwide in a bid to contain the outbreak.
The Sacramento County Health Unit announced earlier this month that it was “expanding the availability criteria for preventive vaccines to include MSM (men who have sex with men) and/or transgender (people) in high risk of exposure to monkeypox”.
“People who meet the high-risk criteria may benefit from a two-dose monkeypox vaccine as a form of prevention,” county health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said in a statement the week. last.
At least 113 total first and second doses of the two-dose monkeypox vaccine had been administered to Sacramento County residents as of early last week, Mott said previously. Another 120 first-dose vaccines were administered at a Sunday clinic.
Pucci Pharmacy in East Sacramento is scheduling first dose appointments this week on its website.
Quest Diagnostics announced last week that it has begun offering testing for monkeypox in most of the United States. The company has developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test — the same form of test used to lab test for COVID-19 — that is now available statewide except for New York, the Centers for Disease said. U.S. Control and Prevention in a press release Wednesday.
Another lab company, Sonic Healthcare USA, has begun testing for monkeypox using the CDC’s orthopox test, the CDC announced Monday.
Quest’s tests are processed in a lab in California. Sonics are treated in Texas.
“Anyone with a rash should ask their health care provider if they should get tested, even if they do not believe they have been in contact with someone with monkeypox,” CDC officials wrote. “Healthcare providers can order monkeypox virus tests from Quest as they normally would for other tests.”
The California Department of Public Health, in its latest update Thursday, reported 250 probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox statewide, up from 141 a week earlier. Sacramento County’s first confirmed case in late May was also the state’s first.
Monkeypox has been found in several counties in the Bay Area, Southern California, Northern California, and the Central Valley. Butte County revealed its first probable case of monkeypox in a resident on Monday.
CDC data updated Friday listed 1,814 total cases in 43 U.S. states plus DC and Puerto Rico, nearly doubling the national total reported three days earlier. The CDC reported New York with the most 489 cases, followed by California with 266, Illinois with 174 and Florida with 154.
More than 12,500 cases have been confirmed worldwide in 68 countries, according to Friday’s CDC figures.
How is monkeypox spread?
According to experts, the spread of monkeypox is linked to prolonged skin-to-skin exposure.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. The patient usually develops a rash, often starting on the face and spreading to other parts of the body, normally about one to three days after the fever.
The incubation period is usually one to two weeks, but can be up to three weeks, and the illness typically lasts two to four weeks, according to a county news release.
Doctors and public health officials are urging residents to practice safer sex. These practices may include sexual abstinence, monogamy, and the use of condoms during sex to limit exposure to the virus.
This story was originally published July 18, 2022 1:46 p.m.