Monkeypox increasing in Stanislaus County. What’s being done to prevent more cases

The number of monkeypox cases gradually has climbed to 22 in Stanislaus County.

County health officials have recorded about 2.4 cases per week since the first case was reported July 19.

“The cases have steadily gone up, but the risk to the general community remains low at this time,” county Public Health spokesperson Kamlesh Kaur said via email.

Monkeypox typically is spread through close contact with an infected individual or skin-to-skin intimate contact. The symptoms may begin with a fever, swollen lymph nodes and body aches, which lead to a rash or sores on the skin.

The sores, appearing near the genitals or hands, feet, chest or face, may look like pimples or blisters and change into scabs before they heal.

The county has worked with community-based organizations to inform the public about monkeypox and urge people at risk to take precautions.

Kaur said the county Health Services Agency has added more clinics for administering monkeypox vaccine to eligible individuals. The county’s public health immunization clinic is providing the vaccine Monday to Wednesday.

The county continues to run vaccine clinics at LGBTQ Collaborative locations this month by appointment or limited walk-in access. The collaborative has a monkeypox vaccine clinic Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 1202 H St., Suite C, in Modesto.

Until Oct. 11, the vaccine will be administered 3 to 6 p.m. every Tuesday at MoPride, 1202 H St., Suite C.

The county health agency also is working with the California Department of Public Health to hold mobile vaccine clinics.

The county’s health services website says the vaccine is “available to people of any age or gender who may have been exposed to the virus.” Appointments can be made through the state’s program.

Monkeypox continues to spread among gay and bisexual men, but the disease has been contracted outside that population. Although the disease rarely is fatal, the nation’s first death tied to monkeypox outbreaks was confirmed in Los Angeles County earlier this month.

Stanislaus County health officials are asking residents to take precautions:

Avoid close contact with people who have the symptoms.

Do not touch items, such as bedsheets or towels, used by an infected person. If that can’t be avoided, cover your skin with gloves, long pants, a face mask and closed-toe shoes.

Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Those who are sexually active should talk with their partner about any recent illness or symptoms.