Monkeypox vaccine image by Jernej Furman on flickr.com
Written by Ben Hensley
The Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) announced Thursday that two additional cases of monkeypox have been reported in Fresno County.
As of today, three cases in total have been reported since the initial case was reported last week, with contact tracing taking place to identify others who may have been exposed to the virus.
Monkeypox is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact via lesions and open sores, as well as potentially spread through contact with infected clothing and other direct contact surfaces.
“We’ve never had this disease before in Fresno County,” said FCDPH Deputy Health Officer Dr. Trinidad Solis. “It’s new, but we’ve worked rapidly to train our local health providers to test for monkeypox.”
The FCDPH has added information about monkeypox to its website, and urges individuals who believe they may have been exposed to the virus to contact their doctor to see if a vaccine may be necessary.
This week, the department reported having acquired more vaccines for the illness, with a total of 55 doses currently in stock with more on the way.
“We’re doing our best here to contact other hospitals to really distribute this vaccine, that way other clinics and other hospitals in our county have access to it and can provide access to high-risk individuals,” Solis said.
The vaccine is currently in limited supply and being made available to individuals who may have come into contact with the virus, as well as men who have sex with other men and have recently been exposed to gonorrhea, syphilis or have been diagnosed with HIV within the past 12 months.
“I want to make it clear that this disease can be transmitted to any individual and human person who comes into contact with this rash,” Solis added. “The best way to protect yourself is washing your hands. Individuals who are identified to have the monkeypox infection are advised to isolate at home while they’re having symptoms.”
Monkeypox symptoms include a distinctive rash, fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes. Individuals showing symptoms are at the highest risk to spread the illness.
“As we receive more doses from the state we are going to continue to expand our eligibility criteria because, keep in mind, this is based off of evolving epidemiological data, and also evolving guidance from the state health department and FDA/CDC,” said Solis. “We’re all learning together and we’re doing our best here to get you the most updated information.”
Covid-19 numbers have seen a slight increase as of July 26, with 241 infections and an increase of 17 hospitalized cases.
Vaccination awareness is still being pushed by the FCDPH, urging people to get vaccinated and boosted, as well as reminding people that the vaccines are effective in preventing severe illnesses.