Los Angeles County health officials recommended Wednesday that people at high risk for monkeypox get fully vaccinated before upcoming gay pride events.
“While there have been only three confirmed new mpox cases reported since March 1 in Los Angeles County, the recently reported cluster of at least 14 mpox cases in the Chicago area highlights the high potential for mpox resurgence locally,” according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The department “strongly” recommended that those at higher risk get fully vaccinated with two doses of the mpox vaccine for maximum protection against severe illness.
Monkeypox — or mpox, as it is commonly referred to in the medical and research community — is mainly spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person during intimate physical contact or sex. However, officials noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that some infected people who have no symptoms can still spread the infection up to four days before they develop symptoms.
The following groups are considered at higher risk for mpox, according to the county health department:
- Any man or transgender person who has sex with men or transgender persons;
- Persons of any gender or sexual orientation who engage in commercial and/or transactional sex or have sex in association with a large public event;
- Persons living with HIV, especially persons with uncontrolled or advanced HIV disease;
- Sexual partners of people in any of the above groups.
Officials said the vaccine offers 70%-85% protection from contracting the disease, and prevents serious cases. Second doses can be given no matter how long it’s been since the first dose. People can choose to receive the mpox subcutaneously (in the upper arm) or intradermally (under the skin on their arm or back).
Mpox vaccines are free and available to anyone who requests them regardless of their insurance or immigration status. Vaccination sites can be found by visiting Myturn.ca.gov. General mpox information, including vaccines, testing and treatment, can be obtained by calling the Public Health Call Center at 833-540-0473 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. or visiting the Public Health website at ph.lacounty.gov/mpox.
Source: NBC Los Angeles
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