Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. As of August 3, there have been no deaths reported from the disease, though recovering individuals have confirmed the recovery process can be painful and unpleasant.

Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. It was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.
  • A painful rash develops and goes through several stages including fluid and pus-filled blisters that eventually get crusty, scab over and fall off. The rash can appear on or around the genitals or on other areas of your body like your hands, feet, chest, face, or inside the mouth.
  • Monkeypox can spread to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
  • The illness usually lasts two to four weeks. The images below show how the lesions may look as they develop, crust over, and form scabs.

How does someone “catch” monkeypox?

Monkeypox spreads through different ways by close, physical contact.

  • Person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious sores or rash, scabs, or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
  • Touching items (such as clothing, bedding, towels) that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

How can I protect myself?

  • Ask your sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox.
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox-related symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used; do not share eating utensils or cups and do not handle/touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.

What do I do if I think I have monkeypox or may have been exposed?

  • Isolate yourself away from others and contact your health care provider.
  • If you were in close contacts to someone who has monkeypox, monitor yourself for symptoms and check your temperature twice daily for 21 days after last exposure. If symptoms develop, immediately self-isolate and call your healthcare provider for advice, testing, and medical care.

Latest Monkeypox case count in the United States:

As of 8/02/2022, there are 6,326 confirmed cases in the United States.

This information made available courtesy of Pawnee Indian Health Services.

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