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Officials investigating first possible case of monkeypox in California

Sacramento public health officials investigating possible case of monkeypox
Sacramento public health officials investigating possible case of monkeypox 02:07

Public health officials in Sacramento County are investigating the first possible case of the monkeypox virus in California. 

"It is a rare disease in the United States," said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. "Also all the cases so far have had mild infections." 

While this is California's first suspected case, at least one confirmed case has been found in the United States in Massachusetts and at least 16 other countries have reported cases. Both cases in the U.S. were reported after the patients traveled abroad to Canada and Europe.  

"We have to be concerned whenever there's a new infection," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Suman Radhakrishna.

While it is a cause for concern, many in the medical community said it is not an alarm. While there is no proven safe treatment for the virus infection, past data shows the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. Radhakrishna said that the virus is transmitted through droplets and sexual activity but is "not sexually transmitted." 

"Other ways, are direct contact with skin lesions, or bodily fluids," she said "Or contact with contaminated clothing or bedding."

Monkeypox is a virus in wild animals which occasionally transmits to people. Its incubation period can be as long as three weeks and carries symptoms such as fever, body aches and boils on the body as well as the hands. 

Health experts said monkeypox is not as transmissible as COVID and, so far at least, does not appear to be fatal for humans. Public health officials said residents should not live in fear but should be informed.

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