LA County’s monkeypox cases continue steady decline

Los Angeles County this week reported a continued decline in monkeypox cases, with an average of five daily cases in its most recent data, down from 35 two months ago.

The current average is the lowest it’s been since July, and is consistent with a slowing growth rate across the United States and in other countries, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Thursday, Oct. 20.

New cases are primarily among gay and bisexual men, and the median age of cases is 35, Ferrer said.

The hospitalization rate also remains low, with about 5% of cases — or 100 people — resulting in folks needing hospital care.

Ferrer also said there is mounting evidence showing that vaccination and antiviral treatment are key measures that can protect individuals and help to slow the spread of monkeypox, noting that the county has an ample supply of the vaccine.

As of Thursday, Los Angeles County had 2,149 confirmed case of monkeypox. Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own health departments, had 120 and 29 cases, respectively.

Monkeypox is generally spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting from infectious rashes and scabs, though respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during extended physical episodes, such as sexual intercourse, can also lead to transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It can also be transmitted through the sharing of items such as bedding and towels.

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox, or have been vaccinated for it, may have immunity to monkeypox.

Most people with monkeypox have mild or moderate symptoms, but it can be fatal in a small number of cases.

The vaccine, according to health officials, can prevent infection if given before or shortly after exposure to the virus.

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