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Monkeypox risks for service industry workers

There is some concern that the recent outbreak of monkeypox within the U.S. may pose a potential issue for those in the service industry.

The White House declared the virus a public health emergency on August 4. with over 7,000 confirmed cases in the U.S.

Riverside County declared monkeypox a public health emergency as of August 8. There are currently 59 probable/confirmed cases of monkeypox within the county.

News Channel 3's Jennifer Franco recently spoke with Riverside County Health professionals about the current rate of infection and how the virus affects the body.

While our previous coverage has confirmed that the virus is chiefly spread through skin-to-skin contact, such as sexual intercourse, other means of spreading poses a potential issue for those in the service industry.

The California Department of Public Health has warned about the potential spread of the virus through close contact or by being exposed to rashes or bodily fluids on objects like unwashed towels, bedding, clothing and dinnerware.

California Department of Public Health says that the virus can spread through being exposed to rashes or bodily fluids on unwashed objects like towels, bedding, clothing and dish ware as well. 

Though the rate of infection to the general population is still low, Riverside County Health officials say it is still important for those working in the service industry to remain vigilant when on the job . 

“For people working in the industry, wearing gloves is probably a good precaution. We we it's hard to know whether someone might have an infection. So we still recommend masking indoors, whether it's for COVID. And in this case, it could also lower chances for getting other infections like monkeypox," said Riverside County Health Officer, Geoffrey Leung, M.D.

Riverside County Health recommends that anyone who has monkeypox wear a mask but the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to self-isolate at home.

There are number of ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, including:

  • Always talking to your sexual partner/s about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus
  • Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
  • Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
  • People who become infected should isolate until their symptoms are improving or have gone away completely. Rash should always be well covered until completely healed.

If you believe you have been exposed to Monkeypox, Riverside County Health has provided a number to call: (951) 358-5107.

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Tatum Larsen

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