The monkeypox virus is spreading quickly among the gay community, the L.A. County Health Department says.
‘Anyone can get and spread monkeypox, but some of the recent cases identified have been among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who attended large events where the exposure to monkeypox may have occurred,’ said Los Angeles Department of Public Health in a statement.
The county now has 22 confirmed cases, up from three on June 2. California has 51 cases, more than 25 percent of the 199 cases nationwide.
County officials are now offering the JYNNEOS vaccine to individuals at higher risk. New York City began distributing the vaccine ahead of its Pride celebration. Tens of thousands of people celebrated Pride in WeHo and Los Angeles this month.
The disease spreads through direct or close physical contact, and it often begins with rashes on the genitals and anus before spreading to the rest of the body. People are infectious until their rashes become scabs and fall off.
No deaths have been reported in the 2022 outbreak but monkeypox can prove fatal for vulnerable populations.
“All Americans should be concerned about monkeypox cases,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement.