Growing number of California cities declare monkeypox an ’emergency’
A growing number of municipalities are declaring monkeypox health emergencies, with Los Angeles and San Diego releasing statements this week.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the declaration of a local emergency (pdf) regarding monkeypox on Tuesday. It came as county health officials said a child in Long Beach had contracted the virus.
“The local emergency proclamation is to help our county do everything we can to move forward and stay ahead of this virus,” the County Board of Supervisors chairwoman said. LA, Holly J. Mitchell.
Also on Tuesday, San Diego County declared a public health emergency for monkeypox, according to a statement (pdf) signed by the county’s Director of Public Health Services.
“The situation we face with monkeypox is fundamentally very different,” San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said, referring to the contrasts between monkeypox and COVID-19. “We take this very seriously, but as I mentioned earlier it is exponentially less transmissible. We know more. We also have a vaccine at the start of this one.
Fletcher said monkeypox primarily “impacts our LGBTQ community,” echoing statements made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. The two agencies said gay men are the main spreaders of the virus, which was mostly confined to West and Central Africa before 2022.
But the supervisor also tried to qualify his statement by saying “we know this can spread to others”, according to local reports.
In Long Beach, located in Los Angeles County, authorities have confirmed a pediatric case of monkeypox. It is not known how the child contracted the disease.
“While news of a pediatric case may be alarming, remember that monkeypox is still rare, is much harder to get than COVID-19 and other common childhood illnesses, and is rarely dangerous,” said Dr. Anissa Davis, city health officer. , said Tuesday.
Tuesday’s two statements came a day after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a public health emergency for the state of California.
“We will continue to work with the federal government to get more vaccines, raise awareness for risk reduction,” Newsom said in a statement. California has received over 61,000 doses of vaccine and has distributed over 25,000 doses.
The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful.
The mayors of San Francisco and New York also recently declared emergencies over the virus, days after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak in more than 70 countries a global emergency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.