The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed two additional cases of monkeypox in Santa Barbara County adults on Tuesday, August 9, and both remain in isolation.
Currently, the total number of confirmed monkeypox cases in the county is three, with the first case being confirmed on Wednesday, August 3. Public Health said it has completed contact tracing with these persons to identify anyone who may have had close contact with them. Persons identified in contact tracing are being monitored for symptoms and the risk to the public remains low.
“This virus most commonly spreads through prolonged, direct physical contact with someone who is currently infectious,” said County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg. “It is highly unlikely to spread through short interactions that do not involve physical contact.”
Santa Barbara County is awaiting a large shipment of vaccinations, expected to arrive later this summer. Public Health also expects to receive more doses soon for known close contacts of confirmed monkeypox cases and individuals with certain risk factors, such as people who attended an event where there was a known monkeypox exposure.
Monkeypox was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization on July 23, and California Governor Gavin Newson declared a public health crisis over an outbreak on August 1. The United States officially classified monkeypox as a public health emergency on August 3. The state and federal declarations are primarily aimed at ramping up production and distribution of the monkeypox vaccine.
Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:
- Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
Symptoms of monkeypox usually begin one to two weeks after infection. They can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely.
Anyone who may have been exposed to monkeypox and/or has symptoms consistent with monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible or contact County Public Health at (805) 681-5280 or PHDDiseaseControl@sbcphd.org.