L.A. County Declares Monkeypox Emergency

A child in Long Beach has contracted monkeypox, health officials said hours after Los Angeles County leaders proclaimed a local emergency amid the spreading illness.

“While news of a pediatric case may cause alarm, please remember that monkeypox is still rare, is much more difficult to get than COVID-19 and other common childhood illnesses, and is rarely dangerous,” Dr. Anissa Davis, city health officer, said in Long Beach’s announcement Tuesday.

The child in Long Beach is the second in California to contract monkeypox and the fifth known pediatric case in the U.S.

Long Beach health officials, who said they’re waiting for additional testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the infection, added that the child was symptomatic but has since recovered. A spokesperson for the city confirmed the child’s infection was linked to household members but declined to disclose further information.

Earlier in the day, L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell introduced a proclamation declaring a local emergency over the rising cases of monkeypox. The action, which the board unanimously ratified, is an effort to bolster the county’s response to the outbreak. The day before, California declared a state of emergency because of the virus.

“This is a serious health issue that deserves support and swift action,” Mitchell said. “The proclamation of local emergency is to help our county do all that we can to get ahead and stay ahead of this virus.”

Monkeypox cases in L.A. County rose to 423 on Tuesday, up more than 80% from a week prior, according to the county health department’s count of confirmed and probable cases. The majority of cases have been confirmed in men who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, county data show.

In Long Beach, there have been 20 confirmed or probable cases, and Pasadena reported its first four cases Tuesday. The two cities have their own public health departments and therefore report cases separately from Los Angeles County.

Reporting from The Los Angeles Times.