LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With Los Angeles County already reporting dozens of monkeypox cases, some area advocates are calling for an increase in public education.
They want health leaders to stand up in hopes of preventing the outbreak from spreading further.
The threat of monkeypox grows as the number of cases across the country continues to climb, which includes Southern California.
"We should be very alarmed about that fact that California cases have more than doubled in just one week," said Michael Weinstein, President of Aids Healthcare Foundation.
According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are a total of 605 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S.
New York has reported the most cases at 122 and California follows close behind with 117.
In L.A. County. the public health district reports 47 probable and confirmed cases.
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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said the cases reported in L.A. County are among men who have sex with men.
They are calling monkeypox an STD that can spread through sustained physical contact.
"We're all susceptible so it'll be very important to keep that in mind. What has happened is mobility and increased activities after COVID have certainly opened the door for an epidemic," Weinstein said.
The foundation is now calling on L.A. health officials to step up public education of the rare disease. They said prevention is key.
Even though vaccines are available to prevent the illness, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said supplies are limited.
"Right now, L.A. County has said they only have a few thousand doses, nowhere near enough to administer to the high-risk patients and barely enough to administer to patients who have been exposed to monkeypox," said Dr. Adam Sukhija-Cohen, Director of Public Health of Aids Healthcare Foundation.
The foundation believes there have been many more cases of monkeypox than what has been reported so they urge U.S. officials to take the threat seriously by increasing surveillance of the virus.