The Santa Clara County Public Health Department said Thursday that it was investigating its first suspected case of monkeypox in a resident who likely became infected on an international trip.
The county’s announcement marks California’s latest reported case of the rare virus — a milder version of smallpox. The first case detected in the state came from a Sacramento County resident in late May. That was followed by a case recorded in San Francisco earlier this month.
Santa Clara County officials are working with the State of California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the case.
The person reportedly infected had tested positive while seeking medical care. The individual is now in isolation and confirmation of the case is pending testing from the CDC. County health officials said they are following up with people who the individual may have had close contact with.
“We encourage medical providers to be on the lookout for monkeypox infections, which develop with a characteristic rash,” Dr. Monika Roy, Communicable Disease Controller and Assistant Health Officer, said in a news release.
The county’s news release added that gay and bisexual men are being “disproportionately affected by this virus in our region”, though it did not provide further explanation.
The overall risk of monkeypox to the general population is low, according to health officials. Symptoms of the virus are similar to but milder than those of smallpox, including fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. Those symptoms are accompanied by a distinctive rash or sores that often show up on an individual’s face and spreads to other areas of the body, according to the CDC. The illness typically lasts for 2 to 4 weeks and most people recover.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.