Monkeypox tests
Test tubes labelled “Monkeypox virus positive” are seen in this illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Public health authorities in Sacramento County reported Tuesday a suspected case of monkeypox in a person who recently traveled in Europe.

If confirmed by the California Department of Public Health and the CDC, it would be the first case of the African disease in California.

“This case appears to be related to recent travel to Europe,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. “Public Health is working with CDPH to conduct contact tracing, and risk to the general public is extremely low.”

The World Health Organization has investigated 237 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus in 19 countries since early May.

Monkeypox is a virus related to smallpox that is endemic to parts of west and central Africa. It typically causes a mild infection and rash.

Scientists do not expect the recent outbreak to evolve into a pandemic like COVID-19, given the virus does not spread easily.

Nevertheless, U.S. health officials are in the process of releasing some vaccine doses for use in monkeypox cases, the CDC said on Monday.

CDC officials said there are more than 1,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, approved in the United States in 2019, in the national stockpile and they expect that level to ramp up very quickly in the coming weeks.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.