Bay Area health officials scramble to contain monkeypox outbreak

Bay Area health officials scramble to contain monkeypox outbreak

Monkeypox cases have more than doubled over the past week in California and the Bay Area, where health officials are joining a global scramble to contain the outbreak while the virus still circulates in limited social networks.

California had reported 95 monkeypox cases as of Friday, up from 40 the week before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 460 cases have been reported nationwide as of Friday, up from 150 the week before.

In the Bay Area, more than two dozen confirmed or suspected cases have already been reported, with 16 in San Francisco alone as of Friday, though that number is updated only once a week and is almost certainly higher by now, health officials said.

The infectious disease, a cousin of smallpox, manifests itself as skin lesions and is spread by intimate, person-to-person contact. Most people recover fully without treatment, but monkeypox can cause severe illness in children and some other vulnerable groups. Even for those who aren’t seriously sick, it can take weeks to get over and cause discomfort and pain.

Almost all cases so far have been reported among gay or bisexual men, most of whom are believed to have been exposed through sexual or other close contact with someone who was infected. The risk to the general public remains very low, local and federal health officials say.

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