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CDPH Encourages Mpox Vaccination and Preventive Measures with Recent Rise in Cases​​

Date: October 31, 2023
Number: NR23-031
Contact: Media@cdph.ca.gov

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: CDPH is monitoring a recent rise in mpox cases throughout California and reminds all Californians, especially those at highest risk, to know the symptoms of mpox and take preventive measures that can help prevent severe illness.

 

SACRAMENTO – With mpox cases on the rise across the state, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is encouraging all Californians, especially those at highest risk, to take preventive measures, including vaccination, to reduce the risk of severe illness. Mpox is primarily spread through close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has mpox.

 

“We are beginning to see an uptick in mpox cases across the state. With this, we are reminding and encouraging all Californians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mpox and to take preventive measures, including vaccination, to protect against severe illness," said CDPH Director and State Public Health Director Dr. Tomás J. Aragón. “Mpox began circulating in California in the spring of 2022, and while cases have been low since its initial emergence thanks to education and community vaccination efforts, mpox can seriously impact individuals who test positive."

 

Reported cases of mpox in California have increased to nearly 17 per week after averaging fewer than 7 cases per week in July and August. On October 30, CDPH issued a health alert to heath care providers encouraging clinicians to remain vigilant in diagnosing and addressing mpox.

 

Vaccinate and Protect Against Mpox: Individuals at highest risk of getting mpox (see list below), especially people living with HIV, should get the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine to lower the chance of severe disease. California has ample vaccine supply, and anyone can visit to myturn.ca.gov to book an appointment or find an mpox walk-in clinic. It is important to talk to your health care provider to learn if vaccination is right for you. People who have previously received only one JYNNEOS vaccine dose should complete their second dose as soon as possible.

 

Vaccination, when combined with other prevention measures, is the most effective way to reduce hospitalization, and death. Vaccination can also be given after an mpox exposure to prevent infection or decrease the severity of mpox illness if given as soon as possible within the first 14 days of exposure.

 

Who Should Get Vaccinated: While anyone can get mpox and preventive measures should be taken by all, vaccines are recommended for those at highest risk. Consider receiving a vaccine if:

  • You had known or suspected exposure to someone with mpox
  • You had a sex partner in the past 2 weeks who was diagnosed with mpox
  • You are a gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men or a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-diverse person who in the past 6 months has had any of the following: 1) A new diagnosis of one or more sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis) or 2) More than one sex partner
  • You have had any of the following in the past 6 months: 1) Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bath house), 2) Sex in connection with a large commercial event or in the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles, where higher transmission is occurring, or 3) Sex in exchange for money or other items
  • You have a sex partner with any of the above risks
  • You anticipate experiencing any of the above scenarios
  • You have HIV or other causes of immune suppression and have had recent or anticipate future risk of mpox exposure from any of the above scenarios
  • You work in settings where you may be exposed to mpox, including working with orthopoxviruses in a laboratory

Other Prevention Strategies Include: In addition to vaccination, other prevention strategies include:

  • Having open conversations with your sexual partner/s and health care provider about any recent illness or symptoms, any possible exposures to mpox, and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner's body, including on the genitals and anus.
  • Avoiding close contact, including hugging, kissing, cuddling, and sexual activity with people who have mpox and people who were exposed and are in their 21-day monitoring period.
  • Not sharing materials (bedding, towels, clothing, utensils, cups) with someone who has mpox.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) like a mask, gown, and gloves when caring for others with mpox symptoms.

Know the Signs and Symptoms: Mpox can cause flu-like symptoms, and a distinct rash on the face, body, genitals, arms, and legs. Rash and sores may also be limited to one part of the body. Symptoms can start 3-21 days after exposure. If you have symptoms of mpox, speak to a health care provider as soon as possible.

 

Contact Your Health Care Provider and Seek Treatment if Sick: If you have symptoms, isolate from others as much as possible until symptoms have gone away. If you need to be around others and have mpox, completely cover sores and wear a well-fitting mask. Contact a health care provider right away to get tested and learn about medication options. If you've been exposed or believe you have been exposed, reach out to a health care provider to ask about vaccination to prevent or reduce illness severity.

 

Additional Data and Resources: Mpox case and vaccination data for California is updated every other week and displayed on CDPH's mpox website. In addition, CDPH offers a number of mpox resources and toolkits to help get the word out about mpox prevention. ​

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