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Health officials monitoring monkeypox outbreak, no LA area cases

Los Angeles County health officials said Friday they are closely monitoring developments in an international monkeypox outbreak, but no cases have been found locally.

Thus far, only one case has been confirmed domestically, in Massachusetts. But world health officials have grown increasingly concerned due to cases that have popped up in unusual locations, such as the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal.

Monkeypox is usually restricted to Central and West Africa. Cases in Europe and the United States are rare.

“However, cases have occurred in these countries that are associated with international travel or animals imported from areas where the disease is more common,” according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “The current clusters involve persons who have not traveled to areas where the disease is common or had exposure to animals. It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox but cases include individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men. CDC is currently working with international partners to better understand the risk factors associated with current cases and clusters.”

Monkeypox generally begins with flu-like symptoms but can lead to facial and body rashes.

“In parts of Central and West Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products,” according to DPH.

People who think they may have been exposed or develop symptoms, most notably rashes or lesions, should contact a healthcare provider.

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