The number of confirmed monkeypox cases in Los Angeles County has jumped to 22, which health officials said has largely been spread among men who have sex with other men who have recently attended large events.
Most of the recent cases involve individuals who have not traveled out of the country or out of the state, as was the situation in most of the first identified cases in the US.
No hospitalizations or deaths have been reported, officials said.
“Anyone can get and spread monkeypox, but some of the recent cases identified have been among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who attended large events where the exposure to monkeypox may have occurred,” the Los Angeles Department of Public Health said in a statement on Friday. “Public Health is working with event organizers to notify attendees of potential exposure.”
The department said it would be JYNNEOS vaccine, targeting “individuals at higher risk of monkeypox,” which includes those who have had close contact with an infected person and those who were at an event where they may have had “skin-to-skin” contact with an infected person.
The department said it would be working to make the hard-to-come-by vaccine available for other high-risk groups as supplies increase.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that causes skin lesions and is endemic in certain parts of Africa. But the current outbreak has hit countries like the US and United Kingdom where the virus does not usually spread, sparking global concern.
The virus can cause blisters, pimples and rashes on the skin. Most who contract monkeypox report only mild illness that goes away within two-to-four weeks without treatment.
Monkeypox can spread through contact of bodily fluids, monkeypox sores or clothing with an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also be contracted by breathing in respiratory droplets while speaking to someone.
The CDC said there have also been reports of transmission among family members and close contacts.
On Saturday, the US surpassed 200 confirmed cases nationwide, 51 of which are in California, according to the CDC’s latest data.
The White House announced earlier in the week that tests for the virus will be shipped to commercial laboratories to expand testing and speed up diagnoses.