Fresno, Calif. (KFSN) — As more counties in Central California and beyond prepare for the possibility of monkeypox infections, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the virus and how to go about diagnosing and treating yourself.
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Fresno County has a total of four confirmed positive cases as of Thursday night.
California declared a state of emergency on Monday, and on Thursday The White House officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency
Over 1,100 cases have been reported in California so far.
In Tulare County, two cases have been confirmed and community organizers say right now there is a low risk, but they want to remain vigilant, explaining that vaccines can play a big role.
“If you have a case of monkeypox, more than likely it’s not fatal and it will resolve itself in a couple of weeks,” explained Brian Poth, the executive director with The Source LGTB+ Center in Visalia.
The current vaccine that is available, Jynneos, is from the strategic national stockpile and was used to treat smallpox.
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“There’s only one company that makes it out of Denmark and so I haven’t heard of any new vaccines being developed,” added Poth.
At this time the vaccine is not approved for people under the age of 18, but children have been given doses on a case-by-case basis.
Those who do contract the virus and develop severe symptoms can be treated with Tpoxx, an antiviral medicine that has to be prescribed, the medicine also only available through the national stockpile.
“These viruses belong to the same family, so if you are protected against one virus it confirms the protection against the other virus, so we are able to use the smallpox vaccine to prevent monkeypox as well,” said Dr. Geetha Sivasubramanian with UCSF Fresno.
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Community leaders are doing their best to navigate through the unknown and battle constant misinformation on how the monkeypox virus is contracted.
“Know that this is a transmissible disease that’s skin to skin contact. Respiratory droplets, you have to be in contact with someone over three hours to even be at risk,” said Poth.
Health officials in the Central Valley are expected to give an update on Friday. Vaccine clinics could begin as early as next week.
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