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Monkeypox DNA found in Sacramento wastewater samples

Scientists are now tracking the samples to see if they are consistent with increased transmission of monkeypox.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — New data from Stanford University is shedding light on the status of monkeypox transmission in Sacramento County. Wastewater samples have been collected in Sacramento and Davis as part of the University's sewer coronavirus alert network (SCAN).

The samples from Sacramento were tested for the presence of monkeypox DNA and results from July 17 through July 31 consistently returned evidence that monkeypox DNA is in the city's wastewater.

Results from wastewater samples in the city of Davis showed no evidence of monkeypox DNA. Scientists and health officials are now using the data to research whether the results are consistent with any increased transmission of the virus.

As of Saturday, the Sacramento County Department of Health Services reported 65 total cases of monkeypox in Sacramento County. 

RELATED: Interactive map | Tracking Monkeypox cases in California by county

The federal government declared a public health emergency Thursday to bolster the response to the monkeypox outbreak that has infected more than 7,100 Americans.

The announcement will free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body.

“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” said Xavier Becerra, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The declaration by HHS comes as the Biden administration has faced criticism over monkeypox vaccine availability. Clinics in major cities such as New York and San Francisco say they haven’t received enough of the two-shot vaccine to meet demand, and some have had to stop offering the second dose to ensure supply of first doses.

The White House said it has made more than 1.1 million doses available and has helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. The people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men. But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

No one in the United States has died. A few deaths have been reported in other countries.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration named top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as the White House coordinators to combat monkeypox.

Watch More from ABC10: Historic congressional vote would reduce health care costs for millions of Californians

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