Local monkeypox outbreak is now ‘resolved,’ a Sacramento County health official says

Sacramento’s monkeypox outbreak has been resolved, a health spokesperson said Monday, after the county reported no new cases among residents for more than a month.

The outbreak, which began in late May and saw the biggest spike in cases during summer, ultimately saw 144 confirmed infections among Sacramento County residents, local health data show.

“The local outbreak is resolved and the local emergency declaration ended,” county health department spokeswoman Samantha Mott said in an emailed response to The Sacramento Bee on Monday.

A data dashboard that had been updated weekly by the county health office showed no new cases of monkeypox, also known as MPX virus or mpox, during November. The county reported only three total cases over the preceding five weeks, from late September to late October.

County health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said early in the outbreak that, due to the incubation period for the virus, the local outbreak would be considered resolved or contained once the county went about three weeks without a new case.

The county declared the virus outbreak a local health emergency in early August, with the emergency proclamation terminated in late September. Kasirye requested the termination during a Sept. 27 Board of Supervisors meeting, citing the sharp decline in new cases following a successful vaccination campaign.

At the peak of the outbreak, county health officials recorded from 14 to 22 new cases per week for five consecutive weeks, from early July through early August.

The county and its partners will continue to provide the vaccine to people who are considered at high risk of exposure, Mott said.

Among high-risk groups are men who have sex with men and transgender people; state health data show more than 95% of the state’s infections have been detected in men, 92% of whom were gay or bisexual.

The county in a Nov. 28 update to the data dashboard said the dashboard would no longer be updated.

More than 4,400 Sacramento County residents received at least one dose of a monkeypox vaccine, according to the final update to the county dashboard.

Pucci’s Pharmacy owner Clint Hopkins opens a box of monkeypox vaccines on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
Pucci’s Pharmacy owner Clint Hopkins opens a box of monkeypox vaccines on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.

Sacramento was the first California county to detect monkeypox, reporting its first case in late May following a global outbreak that started a few weeks earlier.

The statewide transmission rate also has fallen dramatically. California’s seven-day average for new cases, which peaked at 96 in early August, had fallen below two as of early December, according to California Department of Public Health data.

Spread of monkeypox is linked to prolonged, skin-to-skin exposure, according to experts.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The patient typically develops a rash, often beginning on the face and spreading to other parts of the body, normally about one to three days after fever.

The incubation period is typically one to two weeks but can range up to three weeks, and the illness typically lasts two to four weeks.