What is the MonkeyPox Virus?
Monkeypox Virus (MPV) is caused by a virus that is in the same family as the virus that causes smallpox, but it typically results in a milder infection.
It typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling ofthe lymph nodes and progresses to include a widespread rash on the face and body.
Most infections last 2 - 4 weeks and resolve without specific treatment. The type of monkeypox seen in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and more than 99% of people who get this formof the disease are likely to survive.
However, some groups are likely at higher risk of severe illness, including children under age 8, people who have weakened immune systems or are pregnant, and people with historyof atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Transmission Among Humans
Sex is only one of the many ways that Monkeypox can be spread.
Homosexual men are not the only community population that are contracting and spreading MPV.
The virus is spreading primarily through direct contact with infectious lesions or respiratory secretions via close, sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox.
The contact does not have to be exclusively intimate or sexual. Other examples of MPV transmission include:
- Sharing clothing, bedding, or towels with a known positive individual
- Prolonged skin contact with any surface that has also been used frequently by someone with an active case of Monkeypox
Signs and Symptoms
People with monkeypox will get a rash that can appear on your hands, feet, chest, face, &/or genitals. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
Noticeable symptoms may include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches and backache
- Sore throat or nasal congestion
- Any combo of the above
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.
Ways to Minimize Your Risk
Avoid contact with people who have a new or unknown rash, lesions, or scabs. This contact can happen during activities such as wrestling, cuddling, or intimate sexual contact.
ALWAYS wash your hands with soap and water - whether there are viruses in circulation or it is a day of the week that ends in 'Y'.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if possible whenever soap and water are not readily available.
Limit contact with any materials that have been in contact with a known positive individual (utensils, drinkware, bedding, clothes, etc.)
Cleaning methods such as disinfectant wipes, sprays, and mopping are preferred. Dry dusting and sweeping should be avoided, as these activities might spread infectious particles.