By ONME Newswire
SACRAMENTO, CA – As part of the state’s ongoing response to the monkeypox outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom today declared a State of Emergency to bolster the state’s vaccination efforts. The proclamation supports the work underway by the California Department of Public Health and others in the administration to coordinate a whole-of-government response to monkeypox, seek additional vaccines and lead outreach and education efforts on accessing vaccines and treatment.
“California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach,” said Governor Newsom. “We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigmatization.” To expand vaccination efforts, the proclamation enables Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are approved by the FDA, similar to the statutory authorization recently enacted for pharmacists to administer vaccines. The state’s response to monkeypox builds on the infrastructure developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to deploy vaccine clinics and ensure inclusive and targeted outreach in partnership with local and community-based organizations.
San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties currently have the highest numbers in outbreaks
Last month, California public health leaders urged federal partners to make more vaccine doses available to the state as quickly as possible so that the state can expand eligibility to both confirmed and probable exposures, as well as to individuals who are at high-risk of contracting the virus. To date, the state has distributed more than 25,000 vaccine doses and will make additional allocations in the coming days and weeks. Los Angeles County has received a separate allocation of vaccine. In all, the state has received more than 61,000 doses. The state is also supporting overall vaccination efforts in collaboration with locals, including helping provide staffing and mobile clinics. The state allocates doses to local health departments based on a number of factors, including the number of reported monkeypox cases in an area and estimate of at-risk populations. As of July 28, the state had expanded its testing capacity to process more than 1,000 tests a week. The state’s public health laboratory leaders have been working with local public health, academic, and commercial laboratories to ensure testing capacity is increasingly available and coordinated with the public health response. CDPH is also expanding treatment options. Access to the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) used to treat monkeypox is limited, but the treatment can now be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state. The state continues outreach and education efforts to inform Californians about monkeypox and ways to limit its spread. The state has hosted multiple webinars for local health departments, community-based organizations, and other health care providers and has attended various town halls and community meetings to speak with and hear from the public and local leaders.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus which includes the variola (smallpox) virus as well as the vaccinia virus, which is used in the smallpox vaccine. Monkeypox is of public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox.
Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs primarily in Central and West African countries. Historically, monkeypox cases have rarely occurred in the U.S. and had mostly been related to international travel or importation of animals. There is a recent significant increase in reported cases where monkeypox is not commonly seen, including in Europe, Canada, the United States and California
Symptoms Monkeypox might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores. The sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. They can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful and itchy.
The rash or sores may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butt) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, and face. They may also be limited to one part of the body.
People with monkeypox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most with monkeypox will develop the rash or sores. Some people have reported developing a rash or sores before (or without) the flu-like symptoms. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.
Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling. Monkeypox can spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact.
Monkeypox can be spread through:
Direct skin-skin contact with rash lesions
Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing
Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone
Sharing towels or unwashed clothing
Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox)
Monkeypox is NOT spread through:
Casual brief conversations
Walking by someone with monkeypox, like in a grocery store
Prevention There are number of ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, including:
Always talking to your sexual partner/s about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus
Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
Practicing good hand hygiene
People who become infected should isolate until their symptoms are improving or have gone away completely. Rash should always be well covered until completely healed.
Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
Avoiding contact with infected animals