San Diego County declares monkeypox public health emergency

San Diego County has declared a public health emergency for monkeypox, two days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared one for the entire state. 

Wilma Wooten, a public health officer for the county, made the declaration based on a limited vaccine supply being available, the large population and geographic area of the county, the global spread of the virus and the confirmed and probable local cases. 

Officials have confirmed 27 cases of monkeypox and consider an additional 19 cases as likely to be monkeypox as of last Friday, according to the declaration. 

Declaring a public health emergency will give the county more authority to use state resources to administer vaccines, utilize public health infrastructure to conduct testing and contact tracing and ensure health professionals have the resources they need with respect to the virus. 

The county’s Board of Supervisors must ratify the declaration within seven days and vote to extend it every 30 days as necessary, according to the county communications office

Newsom made the statewide declaration on Monday to help the state increase its efforts to combat the virus. Illinois and New York have also declared statewide emergencies for monkeypox. 

Monkeypox appears to be spreading mostly among men who have sex with men, but it can spread among anyone who has extended skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. Symptoms can include rash, muscle aches, fever and respiratory symptoms. 

The communications office said that almost 4,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine have been received. 

Only one infected patient has needed to be hospitalized, and no one has died. The case count will be updated daily from Monday to Friday, according to the office.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed more than 6,000 cases nationwide.

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