Physician contracts mpox in rare skin contact incident

A California physician contracted mpox via skin contact after working with two infected patients, in a rare case of infection without a needle stick.

The female physician primarily serves LGBTQ and HIV-positive patients at two clinics, according to a CDC research letter. Before falling ill, she'd worked with two patients who would test positive for mpox. During initial contact, the 40-year-old physician wore gloves and a mask, but donned personal protective equipment once mpox symptoms were disclosed by the patient. Not long after treating both patients, she noticed a lesion developing on her finger, along with flu-like symptoms. She later tested positive for mpox and has successfully recovered, according to the report.

A Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services investigation followed, which found one high-risk contact, one medium-risk contact and 41 low-risk contacts. All were informed of contact and provided with treatment.

"This report highlights the importance of wearing PPE for healthcare workers when caring for patients with mpox, in particular during specimen collection," lead author Jemma Alarcón, MD, a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer assigned to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, told Infectious Disease Special Edition.

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