Many of you have been following the news regarding the ongoing Monkeypox outbreak. The state of California declared a state of emergency on August 1 and the County of San Diego followed on August 2
. These actions allowed for more personnel for vaccine administration, more testing/case investigation/contact tracing resources, and increased outreach & engagement resources.
Monkeypox was originally discovered in 1958 within monkeys and the first human case discovered in 1970; it has been a well-studied virus over its 64 years of known existence. Monkeypox is a closely related virus to Smallpox but is thankfully much less contagious via airborne transmission. Monkeypox also has a much lower hospitalization rate and, so far, has not resulted in any deaths in the United States.
The current Monkeypox outbreak has occurred globally in over 88 countries. There have been nearly 30,000 known cases worldwide and at least 98 in San Diego County. No single community is responsible for the spread of the virus and it can impact any segment of the population.
The virus is spread primarily through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, respiratory secretions, and shared towels or contaminated bedding. It is not spread through casual brief conversations or walking by someone with the virus.
All employees, students, and members of the MiraCosta community are encouraged to practice the following prevention strategies, as outlined by the San Diego County Public Health Department:
- Know the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox infection
- A rash with pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, or on other parts of the body, like hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus
- The rash goes through different stages of healing and lasts 2-4 weeks
- Some people get the rash first, then other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
- Muscle and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (sore throat, nasal congestion, cough)
- Limit close skin-to-skin contact with multiple people
- Sustained skin-to-skin contact during sex
- Contact with infectious lesions or respiratory secretions
- Contact does not have to be exclusively intimate or sexual
- Obtain the Monkeypox vaccine if you are exposed, or at high risk
- The county has two Smallpox vaccines available that also work against Monkeypox. Both are long established with 85%+ efficacy against infection.
- The vaccines work as both pre-exposure and immediate post-exposure treatments
- The supply is currently limited, but there is enough for the following groups:
- Those who have been exposed to a potential case
- Those with underlining medical conditions
- Those with increased work-related risk
The county is also in possession of an effective treatment called antiviral Tecovirimat (TPOXX). This is prescribed to those with severe infections or those with very high risk for severe disease. Please contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms. Learn more about Monkeypox vaccine locations in San Diego County
In addition to the above, everyone can take additional precautions to protect against Monkeypox transmission by following good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Stay home if sick, cover your mouth when coughing & wear a mask, and wash or disinfect hands before eating or touching your face.
The District also has the following procedures in place for COVID-19 prevention, which also mitigate Monkeypox surface transmission:
- The custodial department continues to do nightly cleaning
- Employees have access to disinfection wipes, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) can be requested from Administrative Services, following the same procedures that have been in place for COVID-19 prevention
The County of San Diego Public Health Department will be having a Virtual Townhall on Thursday, August 11 from 6PM to 7:30PM. You can find the webinar information here
For additional information regarding the Monkeypox outbreak, please utilize the following websites: