Infectious disease specialist Jonathan D. Grein, MD, Director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai, confirmed Los Angeles County’s first patient likely to have monkeypox and discussed how to avoid the virus, according to a news release.
In early June, county public health officials reported that they had identified a suspected monkeypox patient and were awaiting test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patient, who was symptomatic, had been traveling and came in close contact with an individual who later tested positive for the virus.
Because monkeypox does not spread through casual contact and cases are not expected to occur in large numbers, there is little risk to the public, Grein stated. “We have encountered monkeypox outbreaks before and have tools to control them. Compared to COVID-19, monkeypox is more difficult to spread between people and causes a characteristic rash.”
Grein said the CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration were evaluating whether the smallpox vaccine could be used during the outbreak because of its ability to provide protection against monkeypox. While there are no proven treatments for monkeypox, Grein said certain antiviral medications are expected to be active against the virus. “Most patients will recover without the need for a specific treatment.”
Grein said the best way to reduce the risk of contracting monkeypox is by following basic viral illness prevention guidelines. "Measures to prevent COVID infections also work for monkeypox, which includes avoiding close contact with people who are sick and practicing good hand hygiene.”
Grein recommended that individuals speak with their doctor if they experience symptoms including fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and fever, and then develop a rash after three days.