A digitally-colorized electron microscopic (EM) image depicts a monkeypox virion. (CDC)

MONTEREY COUNTY — The first probable case of monkeypox in Monterey County has been detected, health officials announced Thursday.

According to the Monterey County Health Department, a local resident was diagnosed with monkeypox through testing at a California Reference Laboratory Network facility. The county is currently waiting on confirmation of the results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The individual is under the care of a medical provider, in isolation, and in good condition,” the county said in a news release. “Monterey County Health Department is awaiting results of confirmatory test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

The risk to the general population from this virus is believed to be low, according to the CDC. 

Monkeypox can spread through activities that include intimate sexual contact, kissing, breathing at very close range, or sharing bedding and clothing. It appears as a distinctive rash or sores on the skin anywhere on the body, including in the genital area, and often begins as flu-like symptoms.

“There is still more to learn about the conditions in which monkeypox is spreading in the United States, and people can expect that public health guidance will evolve accordingly,” the county said.

Thursday’s announcement follows a recent uptick in monkeypox cases globally and in the United States.

“Monterey County Health Department is prepared for this case and is preparing for other cases, should more occur,” said Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno. “We want to emphasize that this is not a disease that spreads easily through the air like Covid-19. However, we do want people who might have been exposed to watch for symptoms and to seek medical care if they develop symptoms.” 

Individuals who may have been exposed to monkeypox, or who have symptoms, should immediately contact a health care provider for evaluation and guidance. Clinicians should report suspected monkeypox cases to the Monterey County Health Department’s Communicable Disease Unit by calling 831-755-4521.

“While most cases resolve on their own, monkeypox can be serious in rare cases, and we want to prevent further spread in the community,” Moreno said.

Monterey County Health Department is monitoring updates and guidance from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health on the evolving situation.

“Systems are in place to receive reports of suspected cases from health care providers, to identify and reach out to individuals who have been in contact with cases during the infectious period, and to ensure that clinicians remain well informed about testing, infection control and management of monkeypox as the situation develops,” the county said.

The Health Department offered the following tips for protection from monkeypox:

  • Consider wearing a well-fitted mask and covering exposed skin in dense, indoor crowds;
  • Don’t share bedding, clothing, and food or drink with others who exhibit symptoms of monkeypox;
  • Talk with close physical contacts about their general health including recent rashes and sores; and
  • Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are outbreaks.

Anyone who has symptoms, particularly a rash consistent with monkeypox, or if anyone has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox, take the following steps:

  • Cover the area of the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing;
  • Wear a well-fitted mask;
  • Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others, including sexual contact, until a medical evaluation has been completed;
  • Contact a health care provider as soon as possible for an evaluation;
  • Assist public health officials to track others who may have been exposed; and
  • Inform sex partners and other close contacts of symptoms.
Previous articlePhoto | Freak storm drenches South Monterey County
Next articleKing City to open cooling center through weekend
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here