SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A person who came into police custody Sunday tested positive for monkeypox, according to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which operates jails for the consolidated city and county.

A spokesperson confirmed the news to KRON4 on Monday; it comes after a person arrested Aug. 6 who was suspected of having monkeypox tested negative.

The person “tested positive for monkeypox prior to arriving at booking,” the spokesperson stated. “There have been no exposures within jail population. This person, and any other person with a suspected or confirmed case of monkeypox, will be housed in isolation according to the Department of Public Health quarantine recommendations.

“This case was not acquired in the jail and there are currently no other known cases among the jail population,” the statement concludes.

Some other jurisdictions, such as Cook County, Illinois and Maricopa County, Arizona (the locations of Chicago and Phoenix, respectively), have also reported cases in jails as well. According to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines published Aug. 4 on how to prevent monkeypox in congregate living situations, such as jails, health care providers should:

  • “Provide clear information to staff, volunteers and residents about monkeypox prevention, including including the potential for transmission through close, sustained physical contact, including sexual activity,
  • provide prevention guidance including considerations for safer sex, [and]
  • keep messages fact-based to avoid introducing stigma when communicating about monkeypox.”

The infected person should be isolated, the CDC guidelines state, and the area they are isolated should be cleaned and disinfected often.

KRON ON is streaming live

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox include onset of flu-like symptoms and distinctive rashes or sores that could look like pimples or blisters. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show the most commonly-reported symptoms are rash (99%), malaise (70%) and fever (64%).

The CDC stated August 6 that the most common places where rashes have been reported in this outbreak are genitals (46% of cases), arms (40%), face (38%) and legs (37%).

While the red, flat spots which become bumps can be anywhere on the body, they are most likely in the current outbreak to affect the genital or rectal areas, or the fingers, mouth or eyes. The spots become bumps, which break and crust over into a scab. They may be itchy, but not necessarily.

Further, some people only get one or some of these symptoms; it is possible to have a fever but never a rash, or have these symptoms sequentially and not concurrently.

What is the monkeypox vaccine?

The monkeypox virus is in the orthopoxvirus family alongside smallpox, for which routine vaccination in the U.S. ended in 1972 after the disease was declared eradicated here. Jynneos, a vaccine approved for both smallpox and monkeypox, is at least 85% effective against monkeypox, though its effectiveness reduces over time.

Why 100 million vaccines aren’t being used for monkeypox

Getting the vaccine within 14 days of exposure can prevent or mitigate disease risk, as the incubation period can be weeks.

Healthcare providers should test for other infections with similar symptoms, such as syphilis. Tests for monkeypox are confirmed at specialized labs.

Side-effects of the vaccine could include redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and nausea.

Who can get a monkeypox infection?

According to CDC statistics released August 6, 99% of cases were in men, and 94% of cases were in men who reported having sex with men. Among those cases, the majority had reported multiple sexual partners in the prior three weeks. A total of ten U.S. cases have been reported in women, according to the CDC, and as of August 3 two pediatric cases have been confirmed. The virus is spread through close skin-on-skin contact and an adviser on sexually transmitted infections with the World Health Organization stated experts have not determined whether it is a sexually transmitted infection per se, though it is “clearly transmitted during sex.”

However, Noel Sanchez of the San Francisco Department of Public Health cautioned that anyone could become infected with the monkeypox virus, and that it doesn’t necessarily require sexual contact to contract it.

“SFDPH takes monkeypox seriously,” Sanchez stated. “While most cases resolve on their own without pills or treatment, monkeypox can be serious. We are trying to contain outbreaks and reduce transmission to avoid the virus spreading to more people and potentially becoming endemic. To that end, we are doing education and outreach to communities most at risk; tracking monkeypox cases; distributing and administering vaccines as a preventative measure to people at high risk because of an exposure; and supporting testing and clinical guidance to providers, among other efforts.”

Sanchez advises people to cover exposed skin in crowds, avoid sharing bedding and clothing, talk with close physical and sexual contacts about health, rashes and sores, and be aware of symptoms.