A new report released by the California Department of Public Health on Friday showed how the LGBTQ community is being hit hardest by monkeypox.
The report detailed the cases with available data and found that among those, 91.7% of the cases involve patients who are “[g]ay, Lesbian or same gender loving.”
The San Francisco Chronicle noted that the demographic makes up 64.6% of all reported cases, and 91.7% of cases where sexual orientation was reported. Bisexual patients made up 5.6% of the cases, while heterosexual patients made up 2% of cases where sexual orientation was noted.
Men are also being affected more than others, with 98.3% of the cases with available data being discovered in men. People who identified as transgender made up 1% of the cases, while females and non-binary-identifying individuals made up 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively. There were four cases with missing data.
The report pointed out that the general public’s risk of monkeypox “is currently very low,” and while technically anyone can become infected, lots of the cases this year have happened among people “self-identifying as men who have sex with men.”
California cities hardest hit by the disease appear to be Los Angeles, with 261 cases, and San Francisco, with 257 cases. There have been 11 hospitalizations in the state.
While monkeypox is a disease that comes from someone being infected with the virus, it can be transmitted from humans who have an infection, as well as animals and items that have been corrupted. The infection can begin with flu-like symptoms, followed by a rash. People are able to spread the infection from the onset of symptoms until all of the rash has healed and been replaced with a new layer of skin, which can take multiple weeks.
The report added that monkeypox mainly spreads through “direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids” and not through casual, short conversations or walking past a person who has monkeypox.
California Public Health Officer Tomás Aragón said Friday that no state of emergency is being declared in California as of now. “We’re leveraging a lot of the infrastructure that we built around COVID,” Aragón said.
“We continue to review everything and we’ll decide whether we need to do anything additional like declare a public health emergency,” he said, noting that the department has informed federal authorities that they need more vaccines.
New York state and San Francisco took measures to declare individual public health emergencies on Thursday due to the case numbers. California and New York far outnumber other states when it comes to case numbers. According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated on Friday, there are a total of 5,189 cases in the United States.
California makes up 799 of the cases, while New York comes in at 1,345, meaning the two states make up 41% of all cases in the country. Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Georgia have over 300 cases.