A little about Monkeypox...
We understand that there has recently been a national health emergency declared on Monkeypox. Given the recent media coverage and the wealth of social media misinformation, we wanted to update you on what Monkeypox is and what to look for so that you and your family members are better prepared though there have been no confirmed cases of Monkeypox in Leon County to date.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare illness caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus. The Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. However, Monkeypox IS NOT Smallpox, Leprosy (a bacterial infection), or Chicken Pox . Monkeypox symptoms are similar to Smallpox symptoms, but milder, and Monkeypox is rarely fatal.
How is Monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads in a few ways.
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 (saliva and mucus).
This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
Oral, anal, and vaginal sex
Touching the genitals of a person with Monkeypox.
Hugging, massage, and kissing.
Prolonged face-to-face contact.
Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, and sex toys.
A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
A person with Monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
Scientists are still researching:
If the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms
How often Monkeypox is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with monkeypox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
Whether Monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.
What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?
Muscle aches and backache
Swollen lymph nodes
Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
A rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also 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 look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
You may experience all or only a few symptoms
Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
Most people with monkeypox will get a rash.
Some people have developed a rash before (or without) other 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.
The rash tends to be pustular, meaning that it is bumpy with a whitish head to it. The rash also tends to have multiple bumps, not just one or two. The rash should also change from a bump to a scab, it should not stay bumpy.
How do I avoid getting Monkeypox?
Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
This information has been modified from the cdc.gov website. The cdc.gov website is a reputable and evidence-based website that we strongly recommend. Do not google, Tik Tok, Facebook, or Pinterest your way down a Monkeypox rabbit hole of misinformation.
Please look for trusted sites from people who have researched this information diligently and look at pictures on these sites about what monkeypox looks like.
There is talk of a vaccine for Monkeypox. We will let you know if and when there is distribution of such a vaccine and any upcoming clinics for this vaccine.
Will you offer the Smallpox vaccine in the meantime for the prevention of Monkeypox?
We do not offer the Smallpox vaccine because Monkeypox is not Smallpox. The smallpox vaccine is currently on reserve for military usage in the case of bioterrorist events- which is the only way for a Smallpox outbreak to occur at this time. Naturally occurring Smallpox has been eradicated with the last known case being in 1949.
For more VALID and EVIDENCE-BASED information, please go to www.cdc.gov/monkeypox.