How easily does monkeypox spread? Questions raised after SoCal school district confirms case

Denise Dador Image
Thursday, August 25, 2022
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Monkeypox cases are continuing to rise in Los Angeles County, and as vaccine eligibly is expanded more questions have been raised about just how easily it can spread after a local school district reported one staff person tested positive.

Monkeypox cases are continuing to rise in Los Angeles County, and as vaccine eligibility is expanded more questions have been raised about just how easily it can spread after a local school district reported one staff person tested positive.

In an email to parents, the Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill said: "We have learned that one of our employees has a confirmed case of monkeypox. Our Health Services team has worked with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to implement all necessary safety measures."

Hill added that out of an abundance of caution, the district has also implemented additional disinfectant measures.

At the Los Angeles City Council meeting on Tuesday, questions were raised about how easily the virus can spread.

"Could this eventually be something that is passed among young children at daycare centers and other places?" asked Councilmember Paul Koretz.

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"The mode of transmission seems to be prolonged skin-to-skin contact. At this point, we are not seeing much spread among school-aged children," said Dr. Nava Yeganeh, L.A. County's director of Vaccine Preventable Disease Control.

Yeganeh added transmission through bedding and clothing is possible, but officials haven't seen evidence of transmission in that manner.

"We do encourage individuals when they change bedding to wear gloves, but we haven't really seen much spread through that route," she said.

The county is reporting 1,208 cases, with the vast majority identifying as men who have sex with men. Despite limited vaccines, the county expanded vaccine eligibility to include gay or bisexual men and transgender people who have had intimate contact with people at large events in the past 14 days.

"We've also added a new category that persons of any gender or sexual orientation who are engaging in commercial or transactional sex in the past 14 days, those categories are now also eligible," said Yeganah.