LA County reports 1st presumptive case of monkeypox

Los Angeles County on Thursday confirmed its first presumptive case of monkeypox infection. 

At this time the county is awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to health officials, the patient is an adult resident who recently traveled and had a known close contact to a case. The patient is experiencing symptoms but is "doing well and not hospitalized," officials added. The patient is isolated from others.

This is the fourth suspected case of monkeypox in California. Three possible cases were reported in Sacramento County in recent weeks. The first patient there had just returned from travels in Europe. The second case was a close contact of the initial patient.

Public Health is continuing to investigate and conduct contact tracing and post-exposure prevention for close contacts. The risk of monkeypox in the general population remains very low, according to officials. 

The World Health Organization’s top monkeypox expert said she doesn’t expect the hundreds of cases reported to date to turn into another pandemic, but acknowledged there are still many unknowns about the disease, including how exactly it’s spreading and whether the suspension of mass smallpox immunization decades ago may somehow be speeding its transmission.

Last week, WHO said 23 countries that haven’t previously had monkeypox have now reported more than 250 cases. On Monday, the U.K. announced another 71 monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is known to spread when there is close physical contact with an infected person, their clothing or bedsheets.

Last week, a top adviser to WHO said the monkeypox outbreak in Europe, U.S., Israel, Australia and beyond was likely linked to sex at two recent raves in Spain and Belgium. That marks a significant departure from the disease’s typical pattern of spread in central and western Africa, where people are mainly infected by animals like wild rodents and primates.

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body. No deaths have been reported in the current outbreak beyond Africa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.