Know the latest information about the virus the WHO calls a “global health emergency.”
The first ever case of monkeypox was reported in 1970, and the virus had previously grabbed headlines prior to 2022 and this current worldwide outbreak.
Classified as a poxvirus (a virus characterized as causing skin lesions and rashes), monkeypox outbreaks are occurring throughout the world, prompting the World Health Organization director to be “concerned” about the current outbreak, specifically its “scale and spread.”
Highly contagious and resulting in rashes and skin lesions, cases in the United States have been steadily increasing since the first case was reported in May 2022.
Here’s what you should know about monkeypox.
The most noticeable symptoms associated with an infection are the pimple- or blister-like lesions that appear on the patient’s skin. These can occur on any part of the body and ultimately spread to other areas.
The rashes are often the first symptom to appear, and can be followed by fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion.
Most cases don’t require hospitalization and symptoms can take up to two weeks to completely resolve.
How it’s transmitted
The monkeypox-causing virus is mainly transmitted from person-to-person through direct contact, but it can also be spread through respiratory secretions, via kissing, cuddling or other intimate contact, making prolonged interaction with an infected person risky.
The virus can also be passed to a fetus from an infected pregnant mother.
Treatment and vaccine
There is no treatment specifically tailored to treat monkeypox, but physicians can prescribe certain antiviral medications, a practice common with other poxvirus infections.
There are two vaccines available that have been licensed by the FDA, however there is not enough data available to yet determine their exact effectiveness against the current outbreak.
Additionally, the vaccines are not advised for people living with certain health conditions, such as weakened immune systems, skin conditions (dermatitis, eczema) and pregnancy.
Anyone who suspects they have — or may have — been in contact with someone infected with monkeypox should isolate and promptly call their doctor. To find a primary care physician accepting new patients, click here.
Follow the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) to keep up on the latest information about the monkeypox outbreak here.