Health Advisory: With Limited Supply of Monkeypox Vaccine, Residents Should Take Precautions to Avoid Becoming Infected

Los Angeles — With the limited supply of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is issuing a Health Advisory encouraging residents to take precaution to avoid becoming infected with monkeypox.

Although the risk of monkeypox in the general population remains very low based on the information available, Public Health encourages everyone to assess their own risk for monkeypox by considering the ways in which it can be spread and modifying activities that may put them at risk. While exposure to respiratory secretions can lead to monkeypox infection, most reported cases both locally and nationally have been linked to skin-to-skin contact with someone infected with this virus.

Your risk of being exposed can increase when having any kind of sex or other intimate contact, including hugging or kissing, with multiple or anonymous people (such as those met through social media, dating apps, or at parties). Clubs, raves, saunas, sex parties and other activities where there is skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with many people may also increase your risk of exposure, especially if people are wearing less clothing.

As a reminder, the monkeypox virus can also spread by touching monkeypox lesions on a person’s skin; touching contaminated objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, towels), and surfaces that have been in contact with someone with monkeypox; and/or coming in contact with respiratory droplets or secretions from the eyes, nose and mouth from a person with monkeypox.

Due to the limited supply of vaccine, monkeypox vaccine is currently available to those at higher risk including:

  1. People with a known exposure to a Public Health confirmed monkeypox case,
  2. Persons who attended an event where there was high risk of exposure to a confirmed monkeypox case,
  3. High-risk individuals identified in the LA County jail, and,
  4. Gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals who have had a recent diagnosis of rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis

For more details on vaccination eligibility and where to get tested or vaccinated, residents can visit: http://ph.lacounty.gov/media/Monkeypox/.

As Public Health receives additional doses of vaccine from the federal government, the priority is to administer as many first doses of monkeypox vaccine as possible to those at higher risk. Public Health will also continue to expand eligibility for the vaccination as the federal government distributes additional doses.

“Without adequate supply of vaccine from the federal government, residents, especially those at higher risk for monkeypox, should take precautions to avoid becoming infected,” said Dr. Davis. “Like all other infectious diseases, anyone can get monkeypox, and while we wait for more vaccine, it is critical that residents assess their risk, learn how to recognize monkeypox, and take steps to protect themselves. We also encourage those who suspect they have monkeypox to talk to a doctor to get tested and to take steps to prevent spreading it to anyone else.”

Residents who think they may have monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Residents who don’t have a provider or health insurance should call 2-1-1 or visit a public health clinic.

Early signs on monkeypox may include fever, malaise (a general feeling of discomfort), headache, swollen lymph nodes, and sometimes cough or sore throat. Other symptoms include muscle aches, backache, chills, and exhaustion, followed by a rash that typically begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. Infections can last two to four weeks. And some just develop a rash with or without swollen lymph nodes, which can occur on the genitals.

At this time, there are no specific approved treatments for monkeypox infections. However, medication, such as antivirals, may be used to ease symptoms of the illness. In some cases, vaccine can be given to prevent the disease after exposure to the monkeypox virus.

Residents should discuss available vaccination and treatment options with their healthcare provider. Those without a healthcare provider, should contact 2-1-1 for assistance connecting to a healthcare provider.

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