Santa Clara Co. investigates 1st probable case of monkeypox' CDC confirmation pending

Officials say the person recently traveled internationally and is now in isolation.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara County is investigating its first probable case of monkeypox infection, its public health department announced Thursday.

The person recently traveled internationally, sought medical care, and preliminarily tested positive.

"The confirmation is currently pending testing at the CDC," Dr. Monika Roy, Assistant Health Officer and Communicable Disease Controller for the County of Santa Public Health Department said. "This individual is in isolation, and the Public Health Department is following up with people with whom the individual may have had close contact with."

It's that "close contact" that presents some concern, she added.

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Health experts pointed to three groups at higher risk, which include people having prolonged close contact with someone who's infected, and those with a history of international travel - especially to countries with monkeypox.

The third group, as explained by Dr. Roy, "Regionally, individuals who identify as gay, trans, or men who have sex with men are part of that group where we have been seeing a disproportionate number of cases."

With Pride Weekend events ahead, Dr. Roy said all Bay Area counties are working together on messaging to make the public aware.

"The key thing, I think, for the public as a whole to know is that the overall risk for monkeypox is low," Dr. Roy shared. "The most important thing for people to do is - if they have symptoms of a rash - particularly if they have a new partner, is to seek care from a medical provider."

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After more than two years under COVID-19, Stanford Health's Infectious Disease Dr. Jorge Salinas said two global outbreaks of emerging infections happening back to back is not common.

However, he's encouraged pandemic potential for monkeypox is low.

"It's my experience so far, that the people that are potentially affected by this outbreak are aware of this," Dr. Salinas said. "And are seeking care if they recognize some of the signs, or some of the characteristic rashes associated with monkeypox infection."

He continued, "I think that these are signs of our times. Signs of high socialization, international travel. And I think that overall, as a society, we need to apply the same lessons from COVID. We need to invest in public health. We need to invest in being prepared, in having surveillance systems, in having laboratory capacity to diagnose infectious diseases."

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Stanford Medicine's Clinical Virology Laboratory is now one of the first clinical sites in the country testing for monkeypox.

The lab launched on Wednesday and confirmed the sample and case in question was processed in its lab.

Looking forward, Dr. Roy shared, "We can anticipate this week and in the coming weeks, to see many more laboratories that will provide testing capacity for monkeypox."

Dr. Roy anticipates CDC confirmation in the next few days.

"We anticipated that we would see a case. We do anticipate seeing more," she told ABC7 News. "But I think overall, we still believe that the risk of transmission to the overall community is low."

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