Monkeypox is here, says Fresno County’s health officer. How to protect yourself

·2 min read
Photo illustration /CDC file via AP

The monkeypox virus is circulating in the central San Joaquin Valley, and it’s “only a matter of time” before the first case is reported here, Fresno County health officials say.

Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health, said Friday that he had no doubt of the presence of the virus in Fresno. Vohra made his remarks during his COVD-19 update Zoom call.

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking multiple cases of the monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that don’t normally report the virus, including the United States. By Friday, there were 89 cases in California.

According to the CDC, It’s not clear how the people were exposed to monkeypox, but early data suggest that men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

According to the Fresno County health website, symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Within one to three days after a fever begins, the patient develops a rash on the face that spreads to other parts of the body.

Lesions progress through several stages before falling off. The virus spreads from person to person through direct contact with the rash, respiratory secretions, or during intimate sexual contact. The incubation period is usually seven to 14 days, but can range from five to 21 days.

Anyone who believes they are infected should self-isolate. Practicing good hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water is advised.

There is not a specific treatment for monkeypox, but antivirals developed for smallpox have proven effective. Those who believe they have been exposed to the virus should contact a health provider immediately.