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Riverside County Public Health launches monkeypox site

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The Riverside County Department of Public Health has launched a new website to share information with the community about monkeypox.

You can visit https://rivcoph.org/Monkeypox to get the latest information on the virus here in Riverside County.

Last week, the county announced its first probable case of monkeypox, a man in his 60s from eastern Riverside County. Health providers in Palm Springs told News Channel 3's Jake Ingrassia that the person was possibly exposed to Monkeypox after attending an LA Pride event.

We learned on Wednesday that the patient was treated in the Coachella Valley.

Local health officials have said that while monkeypox is not yet widespread, the community should take note of precautions that can be taken to prevent its spread. News Channel 3's Peter Daut spoke with Barbara Cole, director of the Riverside County Disease Control, who said the overall risk of transmission is low.

"We want people taking preventive measures. for instance, if they have intimate contact with someone, do they have a rash? Are they ill? so they avoid direct exposure if that's possible," Cole said.

While Cole said the risk of transmission is low, Dr. Phyllis Ritchie, CEO and Founder of PS Test in Palm Springs, strongly suspects there are other undiagnosed cases locally.

"This is about to explode in Palm Springs and elsewhere," she said. "I think it's actually already here beyond just one patient," Ritchie told Jake Ingrassia on Monday.

There are a total of 396 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States as of June 30. There are 89 confirmed cases in California. Riverside County has not confirmed a case so far, just the one probable case.

Riverside County is expecting to receive vaccines for the monkeypox within the next few weeks.

During her interview with News Channel 3, Cole outlined the county's plan for distributing vaccines once they arrive in the region.

Check Out Our Full Interview with Riverside County's Chief of Disease Control

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970, according to local health officials. Monkeypox has been previously reported in other central and western African countries. Before the 2022 outbreak, nearly all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs, or through imported animals.

Health officials urge that if develop symptoms, such as fever, headache muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills exhaustion or a rash that looks like pimples or blisters, contact your physician or an urgent care facility.

Signs of Monkeypox

If you have lesions, health officials also urge you to not to attend social events where you might spread the disease.

Residents are encouraged to review the CDC’s tips for preventing exposure to monkeypox. 

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Jesus Reyes

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