Cases of Monkeypox Rise

Everything there is to know about the viral outbreak

News of an outbreak of a virus called Monkeypox has been spreading since its first detection in the United States on May 15. As of Aug. 24, there have been 16,603 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the U.S.  

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when a group of laboratory research monkeys in Africa experienced two separate outbreaks of a “pox-like” virus. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the origins of the viral disease are not confirmed, but it is called Monkeypox since the first case was discovered in monkeys. It infected only animals until 1970 when the first case of the virus infecting a human was documented in Africa. Although the large amounts of media coverage and news stories has sent people into a slight panic about the Monkeypox outbreak, the CDC reports that contracting Monkeypox is rare. 

Monkeypox can be transmitted from humans to humans, from animals to humans, from humans to animals, and from mother to child before birth.

The disease causes common viral symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, trouble breathing, congestion, body aches, chills, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. More notably, the disease causes a rash that can be located primarily in the gential and anal region and secondarily on the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth. Similar to other viral infections, Monkeypox symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people experience a rash before other viral symptoms, some experience other viral symptoms before a rash and others may just experience a rash.

Symptoms usually will not show until three weeks prior to exposure. The virus is contagious from the time symptoms start until the rash has completely healed. This process can last anywhere from two to four weeks. It is still being researched whether Monkeypox can spread before symptoms start.

Monkeypox can spread through close or intimate physical contact. The virus most commonly spreads sexually through bodily fluids including physically touching the genital or anal region, using sex toys, hugging, kissing and prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected individual. The virus can also spread by close non-sexual contact including touching the rashes/scabs, touching fabrics such as bedding, towels or clothes and contact with respiratory droplets. 

The CDC has laid out guidelines to prevent the spread of Monkeypox.

Vaccination is the first suggestion given by the CDC, however, supply of the vaccine is low and is administered conservatively. Avoid any close, physical or sexual contact with others including hugging and kissing. Avoid sharing bedding, towels, sex toys, or anything someone has put their mouth on.

Utilizing virtual sex as an alternative until vaccination is more readily available. Reduce the number of sexual partners. Use condoms and gloves when engaging in phycial and sexual contact. Do not engage in any close, physical or sexual activity and see a healthcare provider if you experience symptoms of Monkeypox. Be aware that places such as sex clubs/parties, saunas, raves, clubs, festivals and concerts have an increased likelihood of Monkeypox transmission. Remember to wash your hands and disinfect fabrics that can spread Monkeypox.

For updated information on Monkeypox, visit