RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County reported 11 more confirmed or
probable monkeypox cases today, raising the overall number to 70.
Jose Arballo, a spokesman for Riverside University Health System, said
the new cases were all in men between 20 and 70 years old.
The total of 70 is more than double the number from last Monday, when
Arballo reported the total probable/confirmed cases stood at 34. There were 13
probable/confirmed cases the previous Monday. Two cases that were originally
reported in Riverside County have since been assigned to San Bernardino County.
Riverside County Public Health Officer Geoffrey Leung signed a public
health emergency proclamation on Monday in an effort to focus attention on the
virus, according to a statement from Riverside University Public Health. The
county Board of Supervisors has seven days to ratify the proclamation.
“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,” Leung said in a statement. “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.”
State and federal officials last week proclaimed emergencies in
response to monkeypox.
Riverside County health officials have distributed 75% of an allotment
of monkeypox vaccine doses to DAP Health, Eisenhower Medical Center,
Borrego Health and RUHS’ EIP clinic in the Coachella Valley from the county’s
limited supply, Arballo told City News Service.
He said the county received 3,514 vaccine doses of the two-dose-
regimen JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, enough for about 1,750 people, before the
75% were distributed into the Coachella Valley.
The other 25% were kept for RUHS Public Health efforts such as larger
scale events and post-exposure prophylaxis, Arballo said.
“We continue to work on adding additional community partners to make
our limited vaccine supply available more widely, as we also continue to
advocate for more vaccine doses for our county,” Arballo said.
According to health officials, the vaccine can prevent infection if
given before or shortly after exposure to the virus.
“By sharing the vaccine, which is in limited supply, we wanted to
make it as easy as possible for patients to get the shot if they and their
medical provider agree it is appropriate,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of
public health for the county.
The county is also working with community partners to expand the
eligibility for the two-shot vaccines to include at-risk individuals, and to
set up treatment sites with Tecovirimat — an antiviral medication used to
treat orthopoxvirus infections such as monkeypox.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California
Department of Public Health advise that the vaccine be prioritized for high-
risk and exposed patients. Gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of
contracting the virus, according to the CDC.
Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, recently asked the state to allocate
additional doses of monkeypox vaccines to the Coachella Valley, citing high-
risk factors, including a disproportionately high immunocompromised population –
– largely due to an HIV-positivity rate that is more than twice as high as Los
“California’s vaccine distribution strategy continues to overlook the
Palm Springs area,” Ruiz said.
“It is imperative that the CDC and the CDPC work quickly to make
these and any other necessary adjustments to better meet the demand for
vaccines and ensure the threat of monkeypox is mitigated in our communities,”
Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton said recently.
The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a “public health
emergency of international concern.”
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
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 http://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us-
Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.