It seems like every time you turn on the news now all you hear is Monkeypox. As of August 9th, 2022, there are roughly 9,492 cases of monkeypox in the United States and about 976 cases in Florida (1).
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.
People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus, and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Other symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and a headache. You may experience all or only a few symptoms
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
- Touching objects, fabrics and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
- Sexual contact of any sort with an infected person
- Hugging, massaging, and kissing.
- Face-to-face contact.
- Touching fabrics and objects that were used by a person with monkeypox during sex and that have not been disinfected.
There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.
If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
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