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Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus which includes the variola (smallpox) virus as well as the vaccinia virus, which is used in the smallpox vaccine. Monkeypox is of public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox.   

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs primarily in Central and West African countries. Historically monkeypox cases have occurred in the U.S. rarely and mostly related to international travel or importation of animals. There is a recent significant increase in reported cases where monkeypox is not commonly seen, including in Europe, Canada, the United States and California. While it's good to stay alert about any emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public is very low.   

Monkeypox virus is part of the the same family of viruses as smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder; and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. 

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, genitals, or anus. (The rash goes through different stages before healing completely.  The illness typically last 2-4 weeks.)

Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.  Others only experience a rash. 

 

  If You Have a New or Unexplained Rash or Symptoms...

  • Avoid close contact, including sex or being intimate with anyone, until you have been checked out by a healthcare provider
  • If you don't have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you.
  • When you see a healthcare provider, wear a mask, and remind them that this virus is circulating in the area.
illustration of doctor with note pad

 


What It Looks Like



CDC Monkeypox Case Map

The CDC has produced a monkeypox case map that includes all confirmed cases of monkeypox in the country. This map is updated daily. Residents can view the map by clicking here and download case count information at the bottom of the page.


  • 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:

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion

    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.

  • What actions can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus?

    Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:

    • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox. 
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

    What treatments are available?

    HHS’s new monkeypox vaccination plan will include the distribution of the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine. JYNNEOS is a safe vaccine and is administered as a live virus that is non-replicating. The vaccine is used for protection against smallpox and monkeypox in individuals 18 years and older determined to be at high risk for smallpox or monkeypox infection. People who receive JYNNEOS are not considered vaccinated until they receive both vaccine doses, which are given four weeks apart. Full protection is not conferred until two weeks after receipt of the second dose.

    Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

    Who can I reach out to for more information?

    We encourage residents to call their primary care provider if they begin to experience symptoms or fear they may have been exposed to someone with monkeypox.
      

  • What are the current monkeypox vaccination guidelines?

    CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox, including:

    • People who public health officials have identified as a contact of someone with monkeypox
    • People who may have been exposed to monkeypox, such as:
    • People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
    • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox
    • People whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses, such as:
    • Laboratory workers who perform testing for orthopoxviruses
    • Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with orthopoxviruses
    • Some designated healthcare or public health workers

    What is the vaccination strategy?

    The vaccines will be prioritized for individuals who are at risk of monkeypox, prioritize vaccines for areas with the highest numbers of cases, and provide guidance to state, territorial, tribal, and local health officials to aid their planning and response efforts.

    What is our role in the vaccination and prevention strategy against monkeypox?

    We are actively working with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and local partners in Health Service Region 6/5 South to monitor the monkeypox situation closely, which includes any updates about federal shipments of the monkeypox vaccine or testing enhancements.

    As always we are actively standing by for notifications to monitor people who are exposed to the virus or reports of suspected cases. We ask that residents and partners alike remain vigilant and help share monkeypox information moving forward.



Monkeypox Topics

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