California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency over the spread of monkeypox.
Local health agencies say monkeypox is expected to make its way to the central coast soon.
“It’s a virus that’s part of the smallpox virus that’s been around for many decades and has been discovered,” said Twin Cities hospitalist Dr. Stephen Sigmund.
Health departments say the response to how the Central Coast handles monkeypox is what will determine its overall impact.
“It is usually transmitted through the sexually transmitted route,” said the French hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr Thomas Vendegna. “It’s like herpes and syphilis. These types of diseases are very similar to monkey pox.
“It can spread through respiratory droplets,” Sigmund said. “It can be spread through clothing. It can be transmitted through dirty laundry. You are contagious during this time until the pustules form.”
“It usually starts out as a red lesion that starts to lift and then becomes a bump that fills with fluid,” Vendegna said.
Local public health departments say they are ready to act.
“Our public health team is ready to conduct investigations immediately and administer a vaccine to close contacts if needed,” said Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health Deputy Director Paige Batson.
Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency on Monday.
“It allows for a more coordinated response to any emergency, like with COVID,” Batson said.
“The goal is really to get ahead before it becomes a problem for the community,” Sigmund said.
The state of emergency will in turn allow health services to stress the importance of preparing for the arrival of the virus.
“The main concern of the general public is close and intimate contact,” Vendegna said.
“It’s different from COVID because we actually have a vaccine available,” Batson said.
Departments say they have a plan in place for potential patients on the Central Coast.
“With these improved reporting processes, we are able to get any positive results immediately,” Batson said.
“If they have to be admitted, we put them in solitary confinement because we don’t want this spreading to anyone else,” Vendegna said.
“Unfortunately it can be transmitted to the contact, so it can easily happen on the central coast and it’s already in the state,” Sigmund said.
Currently, at least 14,000 people have contracted monkeypox.
It is not a disease that is expected to cause the death of most of those affected by it.
There are only five deaths worldwide related to monkeypox.