Long Beach identified its first suspected case of monkeypox, health officials announced Saturday.
An adult Long Beach resident, who has no recent travel history or known contacts with others who are infected, tested positive for orthopoxvirus, and health officials are waiting on additional tests to confirm the individual has monkeypox. Diseases linked with the virus include cowpox, monkeypox and smallpox. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services said it is conducting an “extensive contact investigation” and offering vaccines to people who may have been exposed.
“The risk of monkeypox is very low, but we are continuing our work and taking proactive measures to mitigate further spread,” City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a statement.
Monkeypox is rarely fatal but can lead to potentially serious illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that can result in pimples or blisters.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement that the city is “taking monkeypox very seriously, and diligently working to vaccinate people who are at highest risk, understanding that the vaccine is currently in extremely limited supply.”
With the availability of the Jynneos vaccine remaining extremely limited in the U.S., Long Beach officials are offering it to people who were exposed to someone with monkeypox; people who attended an event or venue where there was a high risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox through skin-to-skin or sexual contact; and gay or bisexual men and transgender people who have had rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis within the last three months.
To date, there have been 250 confirmed cases of monkeypox in California — 85 of which were in Los Angeles County — and 12,000 globally. It is not considered widespread, but L.A. County has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.