Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that does not occur naturally in the US. Cases in this country have been associated with international travel or importation of animals from areas where the disease is more common.
As of June 8, 2022, positive cases of the current outbreak have been confirmed in 29 countries worldwide. There have been 1,200 cases in total worldwide, including 40 in the U.S., nine of those confirmed cases are from New York state.
Most cases result in mild symptoms. Even with mild illness, the rash and sores can be itchy and painful and can last for two to four weeks.
TRANSMISSION: Anyone can become infected with monkeypox
- Primarily spread through direct contact with infected rashes, sores or body fluids.
- Can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding or other items used by a person with the monkeypox virus or from respiratory droplets passed during prolonged, close contact with an infected person.
- Transmission can occur during intimate sexual contact, including oral, anal or vaginal sex, as well as kissing, cuddling or massaging a person infected with monkeypox.
- Animal to human transmission can occur through a bite, scratch or contact with sores or bodily fluids from an infected animal, even if the animal is dead.
- Symptoms usually begin to appear 7-14 days after infection.
- Initially, people may experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and tiredness.
- The most common symptom is a rash or sores that can look like pimples or blisters. These may be all over the body or in certain parts, such as the face, hands, feet, mouth, genitals or anus.
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms or are confirmed to have the virus, as well as with anything they may have touched.
- Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.
- Vaccines for smallpox can offer protection from monkeypox. Routine vaccination is not recommended at this time.
There is no proven treatment for monkeypox. Most people get better on their own without treatment.
If you start experiencing symptoms, talk to your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call 311. A provider will check your symptoms and may order testing.
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SOURCES: US Center for Disease Control and Prevention/World Health Org/NYC Department of Health. PHOTO CREDIT: UK Health Security Agency