(Santa Ana, CA) – On August 23, 2022, the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) recorded the first case of human monkeypox (hMPX) infection in a youth less than 18 years old. Contact investigation is underway, and vaccines are being offered to those who may have been exposed to the individual.
As vaccine supplies remains limited, taking precautions to prevent hMPX is advised as anyone, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has hMPX is at risk regardless of sexual orientation or gender identify. According to the CDC, following the recommended prevention steps and getting vaccinated if exposed or are at higher risk of being exposed to hMPX can help protect you and your community.
“Please remember that monkeypox is very uncommon in children” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, County Health Officer. “It is important to note that many childhood illnesses can cause rashes. If you or your children have a new or unusual rash, please follow preventive guidance and seek medical attention from a qualified health care professional for further recommendations.”
To prevent the spread of hMPX in Orange County, we ask individuals to be aware of the risks and how hMPX spreads; (1) avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like hMPX; (2) avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with hMPX has used; and (3) wash your hands often.
People who have symptoms of hMPX, particularly the characteristic rash or lesions, should take the following steps:
- Contact your primary care provider
- Cover the area of the rash with clothing, and wear a mask
- Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others
- Isolate in a separate room or area from family members and pets
Local clinicians who have any suspected cases are advised to manage the case and immediately contact the HCA’s Communicable Disease Control Division at (714) 834-8180.
The CDC does not currently recommend widespread vaccination against hMPX. However, vaccination may be recommended for some people who are close personal contacts of people with hMPX, may have been exposed to the virus, and/or may have increased risk of being exposed to the virus. Eligible residents needing their first dose can now register by visiting www.othena.com to join the virtual queue.
For more information on hMPX, including case counts, prevention strategies, vaccination and what the HCA is doing in Orange County, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/monkeypox. Additional information is available from the CDC at Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC and https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/pdf/MPOX-info-teens-young-adults.pdf.
Those without internet access or needing help with registration can call the HCA Health Referral Line for assistance at 1-800-564-9448 (Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or for general information about testing, treatment, and vaccines.