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Two probable cases of monkeypox reported in San Diego

Israel Monkeypox
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak.

San Diego County may have its first cases of monkeypox, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday, following the identification of two probable cases.

The cases must be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is expected in the coming days.

According to the HHSA, the two cases are unrelated to each other, but both individuals recently traveled internationally. The individuals are symptomatic, but are doing well and are not hospitalized. Both individuals are isolated from others.


"We have seen an increasing number of cases of the monkeypox virus across the world and in the U.S. in recent weeks, so our public health department was prepared for possible local cases," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "Overall, the risk of monkeypox to the general population remains very low."

Since monkeypox is more common in African nations, its appearance in the United States and more than a dozen other countries has generated headlines, particularly among a populace still traumatized by the COVID-19 pandemic. But health officials insist COVID-19 is far more infectious than monkeypox.

Health officials say the infection spreads through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores or shared items such as bedding or clothing that were contaminated with fluids. It can also be transmitted through saliva and sexual contact. The virus is not known to linger in the air and is not transmitted during short periods of shared airspace.

"The arrival of these probable cases in our region is not a surprise, but rather has been expected," said Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. "Our public health leaders are confident there is very little risk of exposure to the majority of county residents."


Most people who develop monkeypox have only mild illness that goes away within two to four weeks without treatment. 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 monkeypox cases have been reported, or who have had contact with confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases. A full list of countries that have confirmed monkeypox cases is available at the CDC's Traveler's Health website.

Since May, monkeypox cases have been reported in several non-endemic countries, including the United States. No deaths have been reported.

Los Angeles County has seen several cases.

For more information on San Diego County's response, visit the county Health and Human Services Agency's website.