Explanation: What you need to know about monkeypox

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) – Confirmed cases of monkeypox in Michigan have nearly tripled in the past two weeks. As health workers in West Michigan battle an outbreak of a potentially deadly virus, they must contend with misinformation.

When the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launched a new website As of July 20, there were 19 known cases in the state with signs and symptoms of monkeypox. As of August. 2, 55, including six in Kent County, two in Ottawa County and one each in Ionia and Montcalm Counties.

Alison Clarke, Public Information Officer Ottawa County Department of Public Health, told News 8 it was only a matter of time before cases were found in his jurisdiction. The first two cases of Ottawa County announced on Monday.

“We expected cases to happen in Ottawa County,” Clark told News 8. “Although the number of cases in Michigan is low, it is increasing and we expect there are many more cases than we currently know.”

Clark and the OCDPH have seen some of the misinformation spread on social media and believe it’s important to set the record straight — not to scare the public, but to inform them correctly.

“We’ve all been talking about COVID-19 and the spread of the disease for two and a half years. “We don’t want the public to panic,” Clark said. “The risk of monkeypox for the public is low. But we know there are people in our community who are at risk of contracting monkeypox, and we want to make sure they have the best information to make (informed) decisions and that the disease doesn’t spread and cause an epidemic. to grow up.”


One of the biggest myths he’s seen online is that contagious monkeypox is a sexually transmitted infection.

“Monkey pox is transmitted through close personal, physical contact, so it can be transmitted through sexual activity, kissing or hugging, and similar close contact. But it’s not a sexually transmitted infection,” Clark said. “And this disease is not limited to gay or bisexual men or men who have sex with other men. This group of people is now bearing the brunt of the disease, but anyone can get monkeypox, and they should be aware of the signs and symptoms if they come into contact with someone who has monkeypox.

in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox is spread through rashes, scabies, or direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. It can also be spread through the respiratory tract – small droplets of saliva that are exhaled when you speak or cough. Finally, the virus can spread from one surface to another.

“It is primarily transmitted by contact with the rash of a person with monkeypox or by touching items used by a person with monkeypox. So sheets, towels, even dishes, forks, plates and the like. Even sharing drinks and food with someone with monkeypox. It can also spread,” Clark said.

The CDC is still investigating how long the monkeypox virus can survive abroad. At least one test showed traces of the virus 15 days after detection. However, common disinfectants and UV treatments can be used to clean items.


There are several symptoms associated with the monkeypox virus, but the most common ones look like pimples or blisters and can be painful or itchy. According to CDC data, the rash works in stages, usually peeling off before finally healing. They are usually found near a person’s genitals, but can also appear on a person’s arms, legs, chest, or face.

Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, stuffy nose, or cough.

A monkeypox rash is the most common symptom. Not everyone experiences every symptom listed by the CDC, and some experience only the rash.


Monkeypox virus can be fatal. However, in the current outbreak, the strain of the virus is weaker than others.

According to CDC data, more than 99% of people infected with the West African strain of monkeypox survive. However, the symptoms can be very severe and can leave permanent scars.

People with weakened immune systems, young children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are at increased risk of severe illness.

A strain of monkeypox in the Congo Basin – not found in the current outbreak – has a mortality rate of about 10%.


A person with a monkeypox rash is considered contagious usually lasts two to four weeks. The CDC is still investigating whether people can spread the virus without showing any symptoms.

If a person begins to show symptoms, including a rash, that person should be isolated from others. If you are caring for someone with monkeypox or live in an area where isolation is difficult, the CDC recommends washing your hands regularly and using personal protective equipment such as masks or face shields.

People should also regularly clean surfaces or items used by people with monkeypox, including laundry, dishes, and furniture.


According to CDC data, there is no specific treatment for monkeypox. But because the virus is similar to smallpox, there are antiviral drugs and vaccines that can be used effectively to treat and prevent infections.

On a case-by-case basis, antiviral medications may be prescribed for people with compromised immune systems or other risk factors.

Smallpox vaccines are also available. However, because they are limited, they are reserved for people who have already tested positive or been exposed to the virus.

“They must be taken within four days to have a chance of preventing the disease. Vaccines are limited right now, but production is ramping up and we hope to have a vaccine soon,” Clark said.

Clark says the most important thing is to stay alert and get help if you think you’ve been exposed.

“Currently, medical workers are the main source of testing. After that, between you and your health care provider, you can figure out the next step,” Clark told News 8. “If people don’t have a health care provider, they can go to the health department. One of our nurses will talk to them about it and if we can’t help them, we can refer them to a health care provider.”

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