San Diego County public health officials today encouraged residents to get vaccinated for Mpox, as a rise in cases across the state was mirrored with 11 new cases in the county so far this month.
According to a county statement, Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, is a virus spread through close physical contact with someone with Mpox. Infections usually cause rashes or sores throughout the body that last two to four weeks. Rashes can happen in sensitive areas and can be extremely painful. Often, but not always, people with Mpox experience flu-like symptoms before the rash or sores appear.
During last summer’s global outbreak, Mpox affected mainly the LBGTQ+ community, but anyone can get Mpox.
“The Mpox vaccine is widely available, safe, and an effective way to lower your risk of getting Mpox or lower the severity of your symptoms if you do get sick,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. “It’s important that people at risk are also practicing other safety measures and notifying their partner or partners of any recent illness or rashes.”
The JYNNEOS vaccine is a two-dose injection that helps prevent against Mpox when given before or shortly after exposure to the virus. It is available to anyone 16 years and older without parental consent. It is also available for people 16 years and younger, with parental consent.
In San Diego County, nearly 16,000 people have received at least one dose of the JYNNEOS vaccine. No-cost vaccines, including second doses, are widely available from healthcare providers and public health clinics. People unsure of where to get a vaccine can call 2-1-1 or make an appointment on MyTurn.ca.gov.
To avoid the illness, county public health officials urge those at risk to limit contact with people with sores or symptoms, avoid touching items someone with the illness has recently handled, practice good hygiene, and wash hands.
“Mpox often starts with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, most infected people will develop a rash or sores. The sores go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The sores can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful and itchy,” stated the California Department of Human Health (CDPH).
The rash or sores can be found near or on the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus. They can also appear on other areas of the body, such as hands, feet, chest, face, or inside the mouth. It is also possible to have the rash or sores limited to one area of the body.
Most people with mpox develop the rash or sores, while some may experience only a few of these symptoms. A few people may also develop the rash or sores without experiencing the flu-like symptoms.