What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox; however, it is milder and rarely fatal. Anyone can get monkeypox, but it does not spread as easily as COVID-19.
What are the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox?
Monkeypox infection typically lasts 2 to 4 weeks. Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms
- A rash
It is typical for monkeypox to begin with flu-like symptoms that last 1-3 days before the rash develops. At first, the rash appears as flat, red bumps and then later turns into blisters that heal over time. Those who have monkeypox remain contagious until the rash has entirely cleared and a new layer of skin has formed.
The vast majority of people recover from monkeypox, however, it is important to be aware that some individuals might be at a higher risk for more serious complications. These individuals include people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Does Monkeypox Spread?
While monkeypox does not spread as easily as COVID-19, it can spread in a few different ways:
- Close person-to-person contact when there is direct contact or touching of an infected rash, scabs, or body fluids.
- Prolonged face-to-face contact or during physical intimacy such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
- The touching of objects like bedding or clothing that were previously touched by the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
Is there a Monkeypox Vaccine?
Currently, the JYNNEOS vaccine is available to help prevent monkeypox infections, but it is only available to those who have had contact with someone who has monkeypox. Widespread vaccination is not recommended at this time. If you have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider to learn more about vaccine options.
What Should I Do Next?
If you suspect that you have monkeypox or have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider for guidance on testing and the steps that you should take next to protect yourself and those around you.
If you have not been exposed to monkeypox, the best way to prevent the infection is to avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms consistent with monkeypox infection and items (such as clothing or linens) with which they have been in contact. If someone in your household has monkeypox, or suspects that they are infected, stay distanced and ensure that any shared objects or surfaces are disinfected immediately.
For additional resources on monkeypox and how to prevent the spread of the virus, please see the list below.
Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC
Monkeypox | Ohio Department of Health
Monkeypox: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention (clevelandclinic.org)