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Two days later California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a public health emergency for monkeypox in San Diego County on Tuesday.
The statement was made, according to San Diego County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, Due to the limited supply of vaccines, the large population of the city and the global spread of the viral disease. However, health officials told the public that the outbreak was “fundamentally different” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The situation we face with monkeypox is fundamentally very different,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, according to the San Diego Times. “We take it very seriously, but as I said before it is exponentially less transmissible. We know more. We also have a vaccine at the beginning.”
“Right now, monkeypox outbreaks are having a disproportionate impact on our LGBTQ community, but we know it can spread to others,” added Fletcher. “And it is vitally important not to stigmatize any individual, not to stigmatize any community, not to denigrate”.
WHO DECLARES MONKEYPOX A GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY
The current number of confirmed monkeypox cases in the county is 46, all male, and 39 who identify as members of the LGBTQ + community. There were no hospitalizations or deaths. Fletcher noted that the biggest challenge is finding an available supply of the monkeypox vaccine. To date, the county has received 3,987 doses of the vaccine and administered 2,454.
By declaring a health emergency, the county now has more authority to use its resources to administer more vaccines along with contact tracking and make testing more publicly available. Health officials estimate 66,000 individuals are in the high-risk category in the county for the disease.
The San Diego Board of Supervisors must ratify the declaration in exactly one week and vote for its extension at least once every 30 days. Starting Wednesday, the county will begin providing official infection numbers on a daily basis.
MONKEYPOX BY THE NUMBERS: FACTS ABOUT THE RARE VIRUS THAT CURRENTLY RESOLVES
The county will also provide resources for the public to receive new information about the outbreak via SMS. Residents will be notified of real-time updates on monkeypox and available health services.
Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease in the same virus family as smallpox with symptoms that include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that typically dries the skin, according to the World Health Organization. Individuals may experience mild symptoms, but the ability to carry the virus without symptoms is currently unknown. These symptoms typically last between 2 and 4 weeks after initial exposure.
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