Monkeypox case in California: What to know

A magnified image of skin tissue harvested from a lesion on a monkey infected with the monkeypox virus.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
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Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, June 2. I’m Justin Ray.

A third suspected monkeypox case has been identified in Sacramento County, public health officials said this week. Here are some basics about the virus and what state officials are doing to prevent it from spreading.

What is monkeypox, and what are its symptoms?

The virus originates in wild animals like rodents and primates but is able to enter human populations, according to the Associated Press. It causes symptoms similar to those of smallpox but generally milder.

The illness starts with fever, aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Then, it later can create a rash, usually starting on the face and then extending to other parts of the body. It turns into pus-filled sores that eventually fall off. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.


Is it contagious?

Monkeypox is nowhere near as contagious as COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses, The Times reported. Among humans, it generally requires prolonged close contact or contact with bodily fluids to transmit infection.

“I think it’s important that if people are exhibiting some of the symptoms, especially if they have a rash that is unusual, that they contact their healthcare provider to have that checked out and make sure that if we need to do further investigation that we can do that right away,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye.

How many monkeypox cases are typically reported each year?

The World Health Organization estimates that thousands of monkeypox infections occur in about a dozen African countries every year, according to the AP.

Although monkeypox can be fatal in countries where healthcare resources are poor, a 2003 monkeypox outbreak in the United States did not cause any deaths. There were 71 confirmed or suspected cases, mostly in Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. Those who were infected had come in contact with pet prairie dogs obtained from an animal distributor in suburban Chicago. The animals were housed near Gambian giant rats and dormice.


How are state officials preparing for potential future cases?

The California Department of Public Health “is working quickly with local and federal health officials to ensure appropriate care and response, including contact tracing and post-exposure prevention for close contacts,” state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said.

Professionals are a lot calmer about monkeypox than COVID-19. Why? Scientists are already familiar with this virus. They also know it’s nowhere near as transmissible as COVID-19, nor is it particularly deadly. They know how it spreads and how it can be stopped.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

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Johnny Depp won his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Los Angeles Times


The Los Angeles City Council instructed its lawyers to draft a major change to the city’s anticamping ordinance, barring homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers. Los Angeles Times


More than 6 million Southern Californians have been placed under new drought rules. There are many important things to know, such as: Who is affected? What are the new rules? Are there any exceptions? You can find answers to all these questions in our guide. Los Angeles Times

A barren median on a four-lane street
A barren median on North Citrus Avenue in Covina. New drought rules limit watering.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

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San Benito County Democrat Robert Rivas secured the support from his current Democratic colleagues to become the next speaker of the California Assembly. The announcement was made after a lengthy closed-door meeting of Assembly Democrats, capping off a tumultuous few days as Rivas and the current speaker each sought control. Los Angeles Times

California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations for African Americans released a report that details the state’s harms to the community and ways to address them. The draft report does not provide a comprehensive reparations plan, which is due to lawmakers next year. Los Angeles Times



Bill Cosby again faces sex abuse allegations in a California civil trial. Judy Huth’s lawyers argued that Cosby forced her to perform a sex act at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was 16 years old. Cosby’s attorneys, who say no sexual abuse happened, have acknowledged that Cosby took Huth to the Playboy Mansion but say that she wasn’t a minor when it happened. Los Angeles Times

A 21-year-old has been arrested in a Tuesday night double homicide that police say took place after an argument on social media. Nicole Diaz, 19, and Noah Golding, 17, were gunned down around 1:20 a.m. in Fresno on Tuesday, police said. Nicholas House is accused of killing Diaz and Golding, who were dating. Fresno Bee

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A young mountain lion who was apparently in search of an education wandered into a San Mateo County high school. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said the animal entered the grounds of the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District. The big cat was isolated inside a classroom. Nobody was harmed. Los Angeles Times

California’s new coronavirus wave is disrupting lives, even with less severe illness. The extent of infection has prompted some schools to reinstate indoor mask mandates and has reignited concerns that hospitals may soon be asked to care for larger numbers of coronavirus-positive patients. Los Angeles Times

A boy, 11, raises his hand during his 5th grade class at Tulita Elementary School.
A student raises his hand during his 5th grade class at Tulita Elementary School.
(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)


Meta announced that Sheryl Sandberg will be stepping down as Chief Operating Officer. She began her career at the company, formerly known as Facebook, in 2008 and helped the social media platform grow into an advertising juggernaut. Javier Olivan, the company’s chief growth officer, will take over as COO this fall, a spokesperson told CNBC. Los Angeles Times

Love it or hate it, the nickname ‘Cali’ has a surprisingly long history. The diminutive “Cali” is one of the most commonly used substitutions for the polysyllabic state name. Where did it come from? How do residents feel about it? The Times looked into it and found a surprising history. Los Angeles Times

California sign broken into "Cali" and "fornia"
“Only tourists call it Cali! That’s a fact,” one observer suggested.
(Photo illustration by Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times; Unsplash photos)

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Los Angeles: Sunny 80 San Diego: Sunny 70 San Francisco: Overcast 66 San Jose: Overcast 78 Fresno: Sunny 96 Sacramento: Overcast 90


Today’s California memory is from Maria Landolfo:

Our family moved to SoCal in 1955. My father was seeking escape from the harsh snowy winters in Cleveland, Ohio. I was 5 years old; my sisters were 8 and 3. We lived in a small rented house in Arcadia and my dad found work as a computer programmer in the burgeoning aerospace industry. Every Sunday we went to Mass at the San Gabriel Mission. I fell in love with the bright sunshine, blue skies, and glittering Christmas decorations on the lamp posts along Las Tunas Drive — and Christmas tree lots selling pink, white and blue “flocked” trees.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)


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