Monkeypox Virus has been declared a public health emergency in the United States. It is a rare viral disease that was first discovered in 1958. Now in 2022, the CDC is tracking cases in every state except Montana and Wyoming. To date, there are over 6,600 confirmed cases. I have answered the most frequently asked questions.
What is Monkeypox?
It is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The virus is in the same family of viruses as the virus that causes smallpox. The symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder and rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox or shingles.
What are the symptoms?
Monkeypox symptoms include: fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, sore throat, nasal congestion or cough. The hallmark symptom is a rash and can be located on or near the genitals or anus, BUT it can also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth. It has also been reported that the rash looks like pimples or blisters and can be painful or itchy. Some people may experience all or only a few of the symptoms. Most people with monkeypox recover in 2-4 weeks, but it can be serious for the immunocompromised, children and pregnant women.
How is it spread?
It is spread to anyone through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact. Direct contact can happen during intimate contact such as sex, hugging, massage and kissing. Touching objects, clothing, bedding or towels that have been used by someone with monkeypox is another way it can be spread.
Is there a vaccine?
Yes, Jynneos is an FDA approved vaccine for monkeypox. It is a two dose vaccine that is administered 28 days apart. At this time, there are only two groups currently eligible for monkeypox vaccine which icludes those with known exposures and likely high-risk exposures.
Is testing available?
Testing for monkeypox is now widely available. If you have symptoms and would like to be tested, contact your healthcare provider.
The latest CDC information is available on the CDC website.