Health officials address rising monkeypox cases in LA County


Health officials and public figures are coming forward to bring awareness to monkeypox as it continues to spread in Los Angeles County. 

Actor Matt Ford recently recovered from monkeypox and shared what it was like. 

“More and more lesions began to appear all over my body,” he told CBSLA Wednesday. “My arms, feet, shoulders, scalp, I counted more than 25 total. At worst, these were excruciatingly painful.”

Health officials held a press conference in Long Beach Wednesday to address monkeypox cases in Los Angeles County. 

Wednesday, county health officials told a crowd in West Hollywood they’ve received more than 24,000 doses of a vaccine for monkeypox and will give out whatever they have left by Sunday. 

The LGBTQ Center in Long Beach is now a place where people can call to get information about monkeypox. There have been 12 cases of monkeypox in the City of Long Beach. 

As of Monday, there were 162 known cases in Los Angeles County, all among men. That’s up from 120 last week. The county has also confirmed local transmission of the virus, noting that some patients had no known history of recent travel.

The county has been slowly expanding eligibility for the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, but supplies remain extremely limited.

“This is not a gay disease,” Anissa D. Davis, MD, a Long Beach health officer. “The activities are things we all do. Cuddling, sex, dancing, kissing, and so, I think it’s important for all of us to be aware and not panicked, and to be aware of what the risk activities are.”

In a motion going before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn noted that future vaccine supplies remain uncertain.

“With the current supply, it is estimated that only 5%-10% of the population that wants to be vaccinated will be reached,” according to the motion. “Given the vaccine can be administered both pre- and post-exposure and the continued spread of the monkeypox virus throughout Los Angeles County, additional vaccine supplies will be needed to expand vaccine eligibility to both prevent further spread and to provide an effective treatment to those who have been exposed.”

The motion also notes that some community health providers have reported that “reimbursement rates for administering monkeypox testing, vaccination and treatment are inconsistent and unsustainably low to support their efforts. In addition, providers remain concerned about their ability to serve the uninsured population without designated funding for these services.”

The motion calls for the county to send a letter signed by all five supervisors to federal health authorities requesting additional supplies of the vaccine in the county, along with efforts at a national level to increase production of the vaccine and the establishment of “sustainable reimbursement levels … for monkeypox testing, vaccine administration and treatment.”

The letter would also call for the establishment of a funding source to reimburse clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities providing such services for uninsured residents.

In Los Angeles County, monkeypox vaccines are available to people confirmed by the Department of Public Health to have had high- or immediate- risk contact with a known monkeypox patient, and to people who attended an event or visited a venue where they was a high risk of exposure to a confirmed case. Those people are generally identified through county contact-tracing efforts, and they will be notified by the county.

The county also recently expanded eligibility to residents who meet a select criteria, saying they could obtain a vaccine from their health care provider, or with a referral from a health care provider or through a self- referral to a vaccine clinic.

Those referrals are available for gay and bisexual men and transgender people with a diagnosis of rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past year.

Also eligible for the shots are gay or bisexual men or transgender people who are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxix, or PrEP, or who attended or worked at a commercial sex venue or other venue where they had anonymous sex or sex with multiple partners — such as at a sauna, bathhouse or sex club — in the past 21 days.

People who believe they fall into any of the criteria can contact their health care provider to see if that provider can administer the vaccine.

Qualified people who do not have a health care provider — or whose provider does not carry the vaccine — can either make an appointment at a designated vaccine clinic or visit a walk-in location. Information is available at ph.lacounty.gov/monkeypox. A list of monkeypox vaccine locations is available at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/chs/DPHMonkeypoxSchedule.pdf.

Last week, the county also activated a website where residents can fill out an online form to see if they may be eligible for a shot and pre- register to be added to a waiting list.

People who register at the site and are eligible for the vaccine will receive a text message when it is available and with information on where to get the shot.

The registration website is ph.lacounty.gov/monkeypoxsignup.

The vaccine is a two-shot regimen, so additional supplies will be reserved to provide second doses to those who received the initial shot.


Source : https://www.cbsnews.com/losangeles/news/health-officials-hold-press-conference-in-long-beach-to-address-rising-monkeypox-cases/

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