Distribution of vaccines
With the supply of monkeypox vaccine limited, San Mateo County Health is making distribution of doses available as received to local health care providers for their highest-risk patients and to neighboring jurisdictions offering vaccination in large scale.
San Mateo County Health urges people to protect themselves against the monkeypox virus, which is spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact and bodily fluids, such as through crowded places or sexual contact.
Unlike COVID-19, which spreads easily through the air, the risk of monkeypox to the general public is currently low unless they engage in higher-risk behaviors. Having sex with multiple sexual partners can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected when monkeypox is spreading in the community.
Be aware of crowded indoor spaces where people have close skin-to-skin contact, sex, kissing and close breathing. The virus can also be spread through shared clothing or bedding.
Cases of monkeypox — which appear in individuals as a distinctive rash and sores that may look like blisters or pimples — continue to appear in the Bay Area, the nation and the globe. Monkeypox is not new, but this is the first time the virus has spread to so many countries at once.
Most cases resolve on their own, although they can be serious. The illness often begins with flu-like symptoms before the rash appears and can last for 2 to 4 weeks.
“Even with the low public risk of monkeypox, it’s important to be aware of the signs of infection,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer. “Anyone experiencing symptoms should stay home and contact a healthcare provider immediately.”
Many of the cases currently emerging are within the networks of self-identified gay and bisexual men, trans people, and men who have sex with men. People in these networks are currently at the highest risk, although people of any sexual orientation or gender identity can become infected and spread monkeypox. Public awareness is important as the disease can spread within potentially larger groups or networks of people.
There are other contagious diseases that can cause rashes or skin lesions. For example, syphilis and herpes are much more common than monkeypox, may look similar, and should be treated as well.
How to protect yourself
- Talk to close physical contacts about their general health such as acne or recent wounds
- Do not share bedding or clothing with others
- Consider covering exposed skin in dense, indoor crowds
- Be aware if you travel to places where there are explosions
How to protect others
If you have symptoms, especially a skin rash consistent with monkeypox, or if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox:
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Contact a health care provider as soon as possible for an evaluation
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact or close contact with others, including sexual contact, until a medical evaluation is complete
- Inform sexual partners of any symptoms you are experiencing
- Cover the rash with clean, dry, loose clothing
- Wear a well-fitting mask
- If you are contacted by public health officials, answer their confidential questions to help protect others who may have been exposed
Social gatherings and safer sex from the CDC