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Second suspected Sacramento monkeypox case found in close contact of first patient

Health officials in Sacramento County have identified a second suspected monkeypox case, in a close contact of the county resident whose case was identified earlier this week and then confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Risk to the general public remains very low,” county health spokeswoman Samantha Mott said in a Friday afternoon news release.

The CDC on Thursday confirmed the presence of monkeypox virus in a person who had recently returned from travel in Europe. County health officials announced the discovery of the then-suspected case on Tuesday.

The second patient’s specimen will also be sent to the CDC for confirmation, Mott said. Both patients are isolating “and are not in contact with any other people,” she said.

“The public health investigation is on-going and additional contact tracing will be conducted,” county health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said in a prepared statement.

The California Department of Public Health earlier this week said the first individual “tested preliminarily positive for an orthopox virus,” which is a subfamily of viruses that includes monkeypox and smallpox.

According to CDPH, health officials began investigating the case Saturday. Kasirye said tests were then sent to the CDC on Monday.

Kasirye during a news conference called the risk of public spread “extremely low” and that the first patient was “doing well,” as health officials were still working to determine the number of close contacts.

Spread of monkeypox is linked to prolonged, skin-to-skin exposure, according to experts.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The patient typically develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body, normally about one to three days after fever.

The incubation period one to two weeks but can range up to three weeks, and the illness typically lasts two to four weeks, according to the county news release.

“The California Department of Public Health is working quickly with local and federal health officials to ensure appropriate care and response, including contact tracing and post-exposure prevention for close contacts,” state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a statement earlier this week. “Because the disease is rare, health care providers may not be familiar with the presentation of monkeypox and the possibility of monkeypox transmission during intimate or sexual contact may not be well known.”

The CDC on Thursday confirmed two cases of monkeypox: the first case out of Sacramento County as well as one located in Massachusetts, and said it was also investigating a handful of other probable cases in the U.S.

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