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First monkeypox case reported in Sutter County

By Robert Summa | Regional Editor

On the same day that the Biden administration declared the outbreak of monkeypox to be a national public health emergency, Sutter County health officials announced Thursday the first probable case in the county.

Sutter County Public Health confirmed that it received lab confirmation of monkeypox in the county.

Nevada County officials said Thursday it has no cases of monkeypox.

Although risk to the general public remains “very low,” the announcement by the Biden administration was meant to raise awareness and accelerate efforts to combat the spread of monkeypox in the nation.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of the virus across the state.

“California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach,” Newsom said in a statement.

As a result of the declaration by Newsom, the state government will use its personnel, equipment and facilities in the state of emergency plan and California residents should “heed the advice of emergency officials to protect their safety,” according to the proclamation. No mask or vaccination mandate was put in place and no deaths have been attributed to the monkeypox virus in California.


On Thursday, Sutter County Public Health said the California Department of Public Health has not allocated any monkeypox vaccines to the county.

“Therefore, we cannot offer vaccination to high-risk groups,” Sutter County Public Health said in a statement. “If the situation changes, we will be sure to notify the public. Monkeypox is much less transmissible than COVID.”

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” on July 23.

“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on Thursday.

Currently, the U.S. is considered to have more cases of monkeypox than any other nation, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday. Even though anyone can be infected by the virus, it is primarily affecting gay and bisexual men and transgender people, according to available statistics.

“Federal health officials repeatedly botched the acquisition of monkeypox vaccines. Gay and bi men are now paying the price,” state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, wrote Thursday on Twitter.

California had 826 reported cases of monkeypox as of Thursday. New York, which also declared an emergency over the virus, has reported 1,666 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, there have been more than 6,600 reported cases of monkeypox in the U.S.

“Monkeypox is a rare viral infection first identified in 1958,” Sutter County health officials said. “In most countries, cases are rarely seen in people who have not traveled to Central or West Africa, where the virus is endemic (regularly found). However, since May 2022, there has been an uptick in cases among people who have not visited Africa, including in Europe and North America, and here in California.”

Officials said close and sustained skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, with a person with monkeypox “appears to be the major mechanism associated with transmission among recent cases.”

Robert Summa is the regional editor of The Union. He can be reached at rsumma@theunion.com or 530-477-4299 (ext. 16299)


Symptoms can begin with fever; headache; muscle aches; backache; swollen lymph nodes; chills; and exhaustion

“The time from infection to symptoms for monkeypox can range anywhere from five to 21 days. The illness typically lasts for two to four weeks,” health officials said. “Anyone who has symptoms of monkeypox, such as characteristic rashes or lesions, should contact a health care provider right away. Your doctor will determine whether testing is appropriate.”

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