Monkeypox

CalArts will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials in determining any steps our community should take to address Monkeypox. At this time, we are providing basic information to help you understand the current situation in Los Angeles County and we will continue to update our community based on any new information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Current Situation in LA County

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is continuing to investigate and conduct contact tracing for Monkeypox. For any close contact, Public Health will monitor and coordinate post-exposure prevention for close contacts, as needed.

According to both state and federal health officials, the risk of getting infected is extremely low, based on the information currently available.

California Department of Public Health notes: “The state remains focused on slowing the spread of the virus in impacted communities, administering the limited number of vaccine doses we have, and raising awareness about prevention measures and access to treatment.” 

How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox is mostly spread by prolonged skin-to-skin contact. It is also spread by touching the skin lesions. There is also suspicion that it can spread by close face-to-face contact, as in prolonged kissing, doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and medical procedures in or through the mouth.

What are the symptoms?
Monkeypox can present as a mild or moderately severe viral infection like Influenza. What makes it different are the skin lesions.

Monkeypox can spread person-to-person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids;
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex; and
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.

What should I do if I think I might have been exposed, or have symptoms?
The risk to the US population remains low. Those who experience symptoms consistent with monkeypox, such as characteristic rashes or lesions, should contact their health care provider for a risk assessment or call DPH at 2-1-1 for assistance if you do not have a regular provider. This includes anyone who traveled to countries where monkeypox cases have been reported or has had close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has a similar rash or received a diagnosis of suspected or confirmed monkeypox.

Is the monkeypox vaccine available to me?
Specific populations may be at increased risk for contracting monkeypox and are eligible for vaccination. Please visit the LA County Monkeypox website for current availability and eligibility. As vaccines are currently in limited supply in LA County, individuals are encouraged to sign up for the LA County Monkeypox Newsletter to receive updates on vaccine availability.

Steps to help prevent monkeypox include:

  • Avoid contact with materials, like bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal or person infected with this virus;
  • Keep infected patients away from others;
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after contact with infected animals or humans;
  • Avoid contact with animals that could have the virus (such as animals that are sick or that have been found dead); and
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator by the person with monkeypox and the contact (for children over 2 years of age) when interaction is unavoidable.