Wastewater Testing in Palm Springs Shows Presence of Mpox, Formerly Monkeypox

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – Wastewater testing in Palm Springs shows the presence of mpox for the first time in months though no new cases have been reported, officials said Thursday.

Riverside County has reported a total of 316 probable or confirmed cases of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, with nearly half in Palm Springs and the last case reported Jan. 9, according to the latest Riverside University Health System data. Additional data can be found at https://www.ruhealth.org/mpx-data.

“While no new cases have been reported, wastewater testing in Palm Springs shows the presence of (mpox) for the first time in months,” Riverside University Health System spokesman Jose Arballo said Thursday.

Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung said that officials will work with community partners to protect county residents.

Vaccines and testing for mpox are available in various areas including DAP Health, Palm Springs Community Health Center, Eisenhower Health and Indio Family Care Center, all located in eastern Riverside County. More information about upcoming vaccine clinics in Riverside County for mpox can be found at https://www.ruhealth.org/upcoming-vaccine-clinics.

The California Department of Public Health asks individuals to self- evaluate their risk for mpox infection and to prioritize getting the vaccine for individuals who are high-risk, according to RUHS.

“While there is currently adequate vaccine supply, there are no longer `eligibility’ criteria, and vaccine providers can offer and provide vaccine to any patients who may be at risk, and persons who request vaccination should receive it without having to attest to specific risk factors,” RUHS officials said in a statement.

Mpox 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 lead to transmission, according to the CDC.

Symptoms include 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 mpox.

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 mpox cases have been reported or who have had contact with a confirmed or suspected mpox case.

As of Wednesday, a total of 5,769 mpox cases have been reported in California — the highest of any state — while nationwide, the aggregate count is 30,401, according to the latest CDC data.

A full list of countries that have confirmed mpox 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-map.html.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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