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San Diego County followed suit on Tuesday, two days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
According to San Diego County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, the announcement was made due to limited vaccine supplies, the city’s large population and the global spread of the viral disease. However, health officials have told the public that the outbreak is “fundamentally different” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The monkeypox situation we’re facing is fundamentally different,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, according to San Diego weather. “We took it very seriously, but as I mentioned before, it’s exponentially less transmissible. We know a lot more about it. We also had a vaccine to begin with. »
“Right now, monkeypox outbreaks are disproportionately affecting our LGBTQ community, but we know they can spread to others,” Fletcher added. “It is vital that we do not stigmatize any individual, stigmatize any community, and slander no one. »
WHO declares monkeypox a global health emergency
The county currently has 46 confirmed monkeypox cases, all male, and 39 members of the LGBTQ+ community. No hospitalizations or deaths occurred. The biggest difficulty, Fletcher noted, is finding an available supply of monkeypox vaccine. To date, the county has administered 3,987 doses of the vaccine, with 2,454 doses administered.
By declaring a health emergency, the county now has more power to use its resources to manage more vaccines as well as contact tracing and make testing more accessible to the public. Health officials estimate that 66,000 people in the county are at high risk for the disease.
The San Diego Board of Supervisors must approve the statement within a week and vote on its extension at least every 30 days. Starting Wednesday, the county will begin providing daily official infection numbers.
MONKEYPOX NUMBERS: THE FACTS ABOUT THE RARE VIRUS THAT IS CROSSING NOW
The county will also provide resources for the public to receive new information about the outbreak via text message. Residents will be notified of real-time updates on monkeypox and available medical services.
According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox is a rare infectious disease that belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, and its symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistering rash that often dries the skin. Individuals may experience mild symptoms, but it is unclear whether they can carry the virus without symptoms. These symptoms usually last 2 to 4 weeks from initial exposure.
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