SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The San Francisco Department of Public Health issued a new advisory regarding monkeypox today, and they are asking California healthcare providers to be on the lookout.

With a case of monkeypox likely in the Sacramento area, public health officials are now warning that “social groups of men who have sex with men” have been epidemiologically linked in the outbreaks throughout Europe. According to the CDC, epidemiologically linked cases occur when the patient has had contact with someone who tested positive for the disease.

California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan noted the challenges for providers when treating this illness, “The risk of monkeypox in the general population is very low. Because the disease is rare, health care providers may not be familiar with the presentation of monkeypox and the possibility of monkeypox transmission during intimate or sexual contact may not be well known. As such, CDPH is promoting awareness amongst healthcare providers and the public, including appropriate infection control for monkeypox cases in the healthcare setting.”

The SFDPH warned California providers who are treating patients with any kind of “dermatologic lesions” – or even sexually transmitted diseases – to be on the lookout for signs or symptoms that are consistent with monkeypox, which can include a rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. The SFDPH is asking any provider with a suspected case to immediately report it and to collect multiple samples from the patient.

The SFDPH reiterated to KRON4 that anyone can contract this illness, “While we know a significant number of monkeypox cases globally are among individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men, anyone – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox.”

This warning comes ahead of Pride celebrations which are slated to kickoff next month here in San Francisco. For more information on monkeypox, please visit the SFDPH website.