By Susan Payne
Monkeypox vaccines and treatments have been found to protect against further spread, according to the Los Angeles public health director.
Last week, the county reported about 40 new cases from the week prior unchanged, representing the fewest number of new cases since the virus’ early outbreak, according to the Los Angeles Times.
During the peak of the virus, the LA Times reported nearly 300 new cases per week. By contrast, the first week of October, recorded 35 cases, down from 63 at the end of the September.
Health data shows 2,314 cases have been reported since the start of the outbreak, reported by the LA Times. Statewide, that number is at 5,300.
Immunity for monkeypox last a while, health experts told the LA Times, which is an important distinction with COVID-19 where immunity varies as little as weeks to as long as months.
“The overwhelming community support and advocacy for critical resources such as vaccines from the federal government, coupled with early and strong action, drove San Francisco’s successful public health response and enabled the city to reach this milestone,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a statement.
Monkeypox has been reported among bisexual, gay or men or transgender people who have sex with men, but it’s not limited to family or people in close vicinities.
Los Angeles administered more than 100,000 vaccinations but they are working toward more vaccine coverage due to an estimated 150,000 to 170,000 people at high risk and the need for doses to be fully vaccinated, as reported by the LA Times.
While cases are low, monkeypox is still a public health risk, health officials said. Five percent of cases in LA have resulted in hospitalization, and one LA County resident has died, according to the LA Times.
A rare outbreak of monkeypox has been in the eyes, found in a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a total of five.
“Patients with signs and symptoms compatible with ocular monkeypox should be considered for urgent ophthalmologic evaluation and treatment. Prompt notification of public health officials can help support these efforts,” the report said.
Officials said people with monkeypox should wash their hands frequently, avoid touching their eyes and stop using contact lenses.