Monkeypox is making headlines and alerting health experts as cases appear in the United States. So, what is it? Monkeypox, a viral disease passed to animals and humans, is very rare in the United States. It’s usually found in Central and West Africa. As monkeypox cases rise in Europe and the United States, health authorities are expressing concern about the unusual uptick.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than those of smallpox. The incubation period from infection to symptoms of monkeypox is usually seven to 14 days, but it can range from five to 21 days.
The illness begins with:
Within one to three days after a fever begins, people may develop a rash on the face that spreads to other body parts.
Transmission of monkeypox occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an
animal, human or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, eyes, nose or mouth.
Consider the following measures to prevent infection with monkeypox:
• Avoid contact with (live or dead) animals that could harbor the virus.
• Avoid contact with any materials (such as bedding) that have been in contact with a sick
• Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
• Practice good hand hygiene—washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer—after contact with infected animals or humans.
• Use personal protective equipment when caring for patients.
There is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection at this time. However, most people recover in two to four weeks.
Visit the CDC’s website for more information about monkeypox. If you have any health concerns, contact your doctor immediately.