Riverside County Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

Ceci Partridge

The County of Riverside may soon be under a public health emergency after the exponential spread of Monkeypox in the Eastern region of the county.

Monday, Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung signed a proclamation to allow health officials to focus attention on the virus that has spread so quickly.

There are currently 59 cases of probable/confirmed monkeypox most are in the Coachella Valley in men between the ages of 20 and 60.

Now, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors have seven days to ratify the action.

“We have seen the devastating physical effects of Monkeypox on those who have been infected, as well as the emotional toll on partners, family and loved ones,” said Leung. “Now is the time for Public Health, our community partners and local leadership to reinforce our commitment to work together to slow and eventually stop the spread of this virus.”

The reason for the proclamation is to show the community that Public Health views Monkeypox as a threat to all county residents, according to county public health officials.

Leung said the move could help as local officials lobby for additional vaccine, which has been in limited supply.

Monkeypox is generally spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting from infectious rashes and scabs, though respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during extended physical episodes such as sexual intercourse can also lead to transmission, according to the CDC.

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox, or have been vaccinated for it, may have immunity to monkeypox.

People with symptoms are urged to visit a medical provider, cover the rash area with clothing, wear a mask and avoid close or skin-to-skin contact with others.

The CDC particularly recommends those steps for people who recently traveled to an area where monkeypox cases have been reported or who have had contact with a confirmed or suspected monkeypox case.

A full list of countries that have confirmed monkeypox cases is available at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/monkeypox. A state-by-state tally of cases is available at www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us- map.html.

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