(KTLA) — The first presumptive case of a monkeypox infection in Los Angeles County was confirmed by L.A. County Department of Public Health officials Thursday.
The case is still awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a news release from the LADPH.
The patient, described only as an adult resident, apparently traveled recently and had a known close contact with another monkeypox case. The person is symptomatic but is doing well and has not been hospitalized. The person is being isolated from others, the news release stated.
Officials said the risk of monkeypox to the general population remains very low.
“Monkeypox is very different than COVID-19,” Dr. Jonathan D. Green told KTLA. “This disease has been around for decades … it typically requires close contact or sometimes intimate contact between people. It’s not a disease that spreads in casual settings.”
Earlier this week, Dr. Rosamund Lewis, the World Health Organization’s top monkeypox expert, said she doesn’t expect the hundreds of cases reported to date to turn into another pandemic, but acknowledged there are still many unknowns about the disease, including how exactly it’s spreading and whether the suspension of mass smallpox immunization decades ago may somehow be speeding its transmission.
In a public session on Monday, Lewis said it was critical to emphasize that the vast majority of cases being seen in dozens of countries globally are in gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, so that scientists can further study the issue. She urged those at risk to be careful.
More information about monkeypox can be found at ph.lacounty.gov/media/Monkeypox.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.