Monkeypox: What Is It and Should I Be Concerned?

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Monkeypox is a rare virus and doesn’t spread easily between people without them having close contact.

Despite an increase in cases in the United States in the past month, the threat of monkeypox to the general population remains low. As of July 13, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1,053 cases of monkeypox in the U.S., including 10 in North Carolina. That’s miniscule in a country of 332 million people, but there have been recent outbreaks in several European and African countries. Only one death due to monkeypox has been reported.

Be mindful that the number of monkeypox cases is on the rise. Monkeypox virus is a completely different virus than the viruses that cause COVID-19 or measles. It is not known to linger in the air and is not transmitted during short periods of shared airspace.

There is no way to treat monkeypox. Vaccines are available in very small supplies for those who come in close contact with someone who has the virus.

What Does Monkeypox Look Like?

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder. Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and it’s not related to chickenpox. 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 appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. This process can take several weeks.

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

How Does Monkeypox spread?

The virus can spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.
  • Pregnant women can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

How Can I Protect Myself?

  • Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
  • Isolate someone who is infected from others who could be at risk for infection.
  • Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you think you have monkeypox (or any virus), contact StarMed Healthcare for your urgent care and family care needs.