Claire Lorimor | Mustang News

The first monkeypox case of this year’s resurfacing outbreak has been reported in San Luis Obispo County, public health officials announced on Monday.

In 1970, the first human case of monkeypox was reported, according to the CDC. In May, the disease resurged in the United States and other parts of the world, where monkeypox had all but vanished.

“The risk to the general public from this virus remains low, as the virus is usually spread through prolonged, close physical contact,” the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department said in a news release on Monday.

Cal Poly health administrator responds to monkeypox concerns

Cal Poly is in a “planning and preparedness” stage for monkeypox, according to Cal Poly’s assistant vice president for Campus Health and Wellbeing, Tina Hadaway-Mellis. 

“We also want to ensure that folks understand how it can be transmitted, who can get it — which is anyone — and what you can do to protect yourself,”  Hadaway-Mellis said in an interview with Mustang News. 

The interview took place earlier on Monday, before the county publicly announced its first monkeypox case. Mellis said the university was planning on sending an email regarding monkeypox this week. She noted that “this isn’t the first” monkeypox outbreak in the US, and vaccines will help.

Monkeypox is transmitted through prolonged, close contact with someone who’s infected, or through clothing and bedding that has been contaminated. The ability for this disease to be transmitted through the air or brief contact is very low, as the CDC states.

The county said the individual in question is recovering in isolation and is currently in good health. Their case of monkeypox was contracted while traveling in other parts of California, according to the news release.

According to County Public Health, the individual acted quickly when discovering they had contracted monkeypox, which led to their bettering condition and extreme limit on spreading this disease. 

What health officials say about preventing and treating monkeypox

Monkeypox is a disease related to smallpox, which presents itself as a rash or sores accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes. The news release calls for anyone who has these symptoms or any unexplainable rash to contact their primary care physician to be considered for testing and treatment.

Since monkeypox has not been an issue in the US for some years now, the number of available vaccines is quite low; this means vaccines are reserved for those who have recently had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for the disease and for lab workers who handle the virus.

County Public Health said the national supply of the JYNNEOS vaccine, which protects against monkeypox and smallpox, is “extremely limited,” leaving only a small allocation of the vaccine available to the department right now.

The county expects to receive more vaccine shipments in both late summer and in the fall, according to the county’s website regarding monkeypox vaccine information.

The public health department advises that people avoid close, physical contact with those who have monkeypox-like symptoms, or rashes and sores that cannot be explained, to talk with sexual partners about recent illnesses or rashes on their bodies and to thoroughly and frequently wash their hands. 

People who have been exposed to monkeypox can contact County Public Health at 805-781-5500 or publichealth.contact@co.slo.ca.us to be connected with a public health nurse confidentially.

Elizabeth Wilson contributed reporting to this article.