Both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties now have confirmed cases of monkeypox, sparking speculation about the infection and the risk to the general public.
San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said she doesn’t expect the number of local cases to skyrocket.
So far, one confirmed case has been confirmed in a county resident, who said the man who contracted the virus likely contracted it outside of San Luis Obispo County.
“We conducted a survey on who the contacts were and offered them vaccinations,” Dr. Borenstein said.
However, she admits that the monkeypox vaccine is not available to everyone because supplies are limited.
“We are very careful about making it available to anyone who has had direct contact with a known case,” she added.
Early symptoms of infection often mirror those of a common cold or flu, with one notable exception, says Dr. Borenstein.
“When an obvious rash appears, it could be monkeypox and health care should be sought at that point,” said Dr. Borenstein.
In the weeks since monkeypox cases began appearing nationwide, a survey found that nearly one in five Americans feared contracting the virus, many of whom had contracted the virus in the air. I am also afraid of spreading.
But locals we spoke to say it would take more than one monkeypox case to raise their concerns.
Arroyo Grande resident Jim Dowdall said, “When we start hearing stories about our neighbors being quarantined, when we see people with rashes walking in and out of Trader Joe’s, we start to get elevated.” prize.
Bin Kunzig, a resident of Nipomo, added: “If an epidemic starts to spread, it doesn’t seem to be the case now.”
Dr. Borenstein has also provided some reassurance to those who may be concerned about the spread and symptoms of monkeypox.
“It can be painful, it can cause weeks of disruption to your life, but you won’t see hospitalizations or deaths like we’ve seen with many other diseases,” she said. “The public should not be overly concerned.”
Still, Dr. Borenstein advises communities to take precautions and seek medical attention if necessary.
On Tuesday morning, Santa Barbara County Public Health officials provided the County Board of Supervisors with an update on the monkeypox outbreak. These meetings provide weekly updates on the virus.