BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The global outbreak of the monkeypox virus has arrived in Kern County.

On Saturday, Kern County Public Health officials confirmed the first probable case of monkeypox in a Kern County resident. KCPH would not disclose any identifying information about the patient but said their illness is minor.

“This patient is isolating at home, which means they are not ill enough to be hospitalized,” KCPH director of health services Kim Hernandez said. “That is good and important news.”

Monkeypox has crept across the United States since the first case was confirmed in Massachusetts in May. As of Friday, the CDC has reported 791 cases across the nation, including 141 in California.

Unlike COVID cases, skyrocketing monkeypox cases are unlikely because of how monkeypox transmits.

“It’s not something where you would pass this person on the street (and get infected),” Hernandez said. “Most transmission happens when you are in physical contact, you happen to brush against the rash, you touch items that have been contaminated by body fluids. So it’s not something that people would casually pass in public.”

Monkeypox — so named because it was first observed in monkeys — might first show up like the flu, with a fever, swelling, aches and fatigue. A few days later, a patient will likely develop a rash or sores that blister and leak. Those blisters are the most likely vector for transmission.

While its symptoms may be painful, the CDC has reported no deaths from monkeypox in the United States.

A possible outbreak in Kern would still be serious — for the public and for our overworked healthcare system.

“There is a similar concern about the strain, about the number of calls going to our healthcare providers, about the need with monkeypox to have an in-person assessment, and to take up those appointments,” Hernandez said.

There is no word on where or how the patient became infected, although a Public Health investigation is ongoing. KCPH has said that the patient is cooperating with contact tracing. If you’re at risk, you’ll likely be contacted by the patient and by a Public Health official.