What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare, zoonotic disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans, humans to animals, and humans to humans.
How does monkeypox spread?
There are multiple ways monkeypox can spread:
- Direct person-to-person contact with the infected rash, scab, or body fluid of the individual with monkeypox
- By respiratory secretion, face-to-face contact, or intimate interactions such as cuddling, kissing, and sex. It is particularly important to monitor pregnant women as the disease can spread to the fetus.
- Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.
- In rare cases, monkeypox can spread from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms will often include rashes that can look like pimples or blisters. These can appear on the face, inside the mouth, and in other parts of the body such as hands, feet, chest genitals, or anus. Rashes will go through different stages before healing completely, a process that can remain for several weeks. Some individuals who have monkeypox will only experience rashes, however, other symptoms that are common with monkeypox include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
How long does it take for someone infected with monkeypox to show symptoms?
Monkeypox symptoms usually start to show within two weeks of exposure to the virus.
How dangerous is it?
While mild or severe cases can be extremely painful and require hospitalization, over 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. However, people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get seriously ill or die.
Is a vaccine available yet?
Yes. However, it is NOT recommended for everyone and will be provided to residents pending authorization from the local health department in partnership with a primary care provider or approved medical group.
The vaccine is available only to those individuals who have been directly exposed to monkeypox and/or are at high risk of contracting the monkeypox virus. Residents seeking a monkeypox vaccine should first seek guidance from their primary care provider.