San Francisco

First ‘Probable' Monkeypox Case Detected in San Francisco: Officials

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The first "probable" monkeypox case was detected in San Francisco, health officials said Friday.

According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, an individual traveled to a location with an outbreak in cases. They added the person is currently in isolation and is in good condition.

The individual reported no close contacts in San Francisco.

According to SFDPH, the initial testing of the case was completed in a state lab Friday and are now awaiting confirmation of the test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials said that the risk to the general public from the virus is currently low as the known cause of spread is prolonged contact and bodily fluids.

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness, usually found in west and central Africa. It was first discovered in monkeys in the late 1950's.

More than a decade later, it spread to humans. Common symptoms include fever, aches and a distinctive rash all over the body.

NBC Bay Area spoke with UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong following the news Friday and asked if this virus was something that people should worry about.

“We should not be worried at all. This is expected actually. We expected that there would be an increase in cases, but the increase has not been exponential. It’s been very gradual,” he said.

Chin-Hong added that there already are PCR tests to detect it and monkeypox usually takes three weeks after exposure to get sick.

“But I think there are two things I would probably ask people to do specifically around monkeypox. First of all, don’t be intimate with anybody who is ill, that’s not just for monkeypox, that goes for COVID," he said. "The second thing is, if you see a very characteristic rash, work with public health to get care for that person and then, they would likely do contact tracing as well."

Currently, there are two vaccines available. One is specifically for monkeypox. While another vaccine is available for smallpox.

Health officials said that if someone already had smallpox or the smallpox vaccine, then they are immune. The CDC is releasing additional doses from the national stockpile.

California state officials said it has procured those vaccines to distribute to counties for preventative use for people who are identified as close contacts.

Officials said most people who get it will fully recover on their own.

San Francisco is the third California county to have reported a probable case of monkeypox. Los Angeles and Sacramento counties also recently reported potential cases.

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