Monkey disease has now spread to at least 75 countries, with more than 5,000 cases in the United States and more than 800 in California as of July 31, according to the California Department of Health.
California’s governor on Monday became the second state in three days to declare a state of emergency to speed up efforts to combat monkeypox.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the declaration would help the state coordinate the government’s response, seek more vaccines and educate people about where they can get treatment and vaccines.
On July 22, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” along with COVID-19 and polio.
What is monkey pox? Should you be concerned about this? How can you tell you have? We have answers.
Monkey pox sightings around California
What is monkey pox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is similar to smallpox (and from the same family of viruses), but milder and rarely fatal. Monkey pox is not related to chicken pox.
Monkeypox is most common in the rainforests of central and western Africa, and is sometimes found in other areas from travelers, imported animals, or close contact with an infected person.
Is monkeypox fatal? Can monkeypox be cured?
Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox, but the smallpox vaccine and FDA-approved antiviral drugs may be considered for prompt treatment of monkeypox.
According to the World Health Organization, the death rate in recent times has been 3-6%. Severe cases often involve children under 8 years of age, people with eczema, the very elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
Monkey pox, however, can be very serious. May be affected by severe pain, both persistent, and, depending on the location, using the toilet or eating.
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Complications of monkeypox include other infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, scarring, corneal infection leading to blindness, and rarely death.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, and a rash of painful, itchy sores. The rash usually starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body, such as the genitals or anus, arms, legs, and chest, but some sources report that the rash starts in the groin.
Most people with monkeypox develop a rash, and some develop other symptoms later or not at all.
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What does monkeypox look like?
The rash usually starts within a few days of a fever, but this latest outbreak is the first time the rash has been seen, said Dr. Marshall Glesby, an infectious disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian.
Once it arrives, the rash starts as flat spots that turn into pimples or blister-like bumps. Over a period of a couple of weeks to a month, these skin lesions fill with a clear fluid and gradually turn into pustules (sores filled with yellowish fluid), after which the lesions dry up and the crusts fall off. The number of lesions can range from one or two to hundreds.
How can I tell the difference between measles, chicken pox and monkey pox? Is monkeypox just a tumor?
It is not easy. Smallpox and monkeypox are often mistaken for each other, and in some cases only medical examinations can tell which is which.
The spread of the rash can also give you clues. The monkeypox rash usually starts on the face and spreads elsewhere one to five days after the fever. A chickenpox rash starts on the chest, face, and back a day or two after the fever.
The biggest difference is that monkeypox causes swollen lymph nodes, while chickenpox does not. Testing will determine it for sure.
A measles rash starts at the hairline or forehead and spreads downward, looking like flat red spots or slightly raised bumps that don’t contain fluid.
Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox, which is caused by the herpes virus that causes chickenpox. Most of the time, the rash is only on a narrow strip of skin on one side of the body.
How long does monkeypox last? How long is monkeypox contagious?
According to the CDC, symptoms usually begin within three weeks of exposure to the virus. From the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all the scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed—usually about 2-4 weeks—you are contagious.
How is monkeypox transmitted and transmitted?
Monkeypox is spread through close, personal contact, usually skin-to-skin. This can include direct contact with the rash, scabies, body fluids or respiratory droplets of an infected person.
Monkeypox is not an STD, but it can be transmitted through oral, anal, and vaginal sex, or by touching the genitals of an infected person. Also through hugs, kisses, massages or prolonged face-to-face contact.
Monkey pox cannot be transmitted through casual contact (handshakes, slaps on the cheek) or toilet seats.
Monkey pox can be spread by touching items or fabrics used by an infected person (bedding, towels, clothing, sex toys), but there is no evidence that anyone caught it that way during this outbreak, Glesby said.
Monkey pox can also be transmitted from infected animals, bites, claws, or body fluids, primarily from rodents. In the last outbreak in 2003, people became infected after contact with pets.
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What should I do if I have a rash?
If you develop a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms, avoid close contact with anyone until you are checked by your health care provider or local clinic. This includes sexual or physical intimacy.
You may need to specifically ask for a monkeypox test because some health care providers are still learning about it and don’t know if it’s spreading in the community.
Should monkeypox be vaccinated?
So far, gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men are most at risk of contracting monkeypox in a 2022 outbreak, health officials say. It also poses a risk to laboratory and health workers and other people, such as close family members of people with monkeypox.
Monkeypox Vaccines:How to get the monkeypox vaccine in the US. Who should get it?
Where can I find monkeypox vaccine near me? Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine?
There are two FDA-licensed vaccines, but one, ACAM2000, is not recommended for people with compromised immune systems or those in close contact with them because it uses a live virus that can be transmitted. A safer vaccine, JYNNEOS or MVA, is not as widely available, but the Biden administration has released more than 1.1 million doses, with another 5.5 million doses to come in 2023. It requires two doses taken four weeks apart.
Does the smallpox vaccine protect against monkeys?
If you got the smallpox vaccine before routine immunization ended in the U.S. in the 1970s, you can still be protected against monkeypox, experts say, but it’s not yet clear how much.
Should I be worried about monkeypox?
You should be aware of this and pay attention to local media reports and updates from your local and state Department of Health.
Is monkeypox a gay disease?
A horse. Although the recent outbreak has attracted public attention, the virus has been spreading and evolving in Nigeria for the past five years, says Dr. Ali Khan, epidemiologist and dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Monkey pox can be transmitted through close or intimate contact between people of different sexual orientations. In the US, two children who had close contact with infected family members were diagnosed with it.
Gay men should not be stigmatized because the virus is spreading among men who have sex with men, Dr. Mahdi Sobhani, an infectious disease specialist at Ohio State University Medical Center.
“Don’t think of it as a gay disease. It can be intimate,” he said.
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Contributed by Treasure Coast Newspapers, Karen Weintraub, Mike Snyder, The Desert Sun, Associated Press, USA TODAY, Douglas Ray, Gainesville Sun