Monkeypox cases continue to rise around the world, including in the United States. With over 10,000 confirmed cases across 49 of 50 states, it has been declared a public health emergency. This declaration may cause many to worry, especially after the last several years of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Read more) However, unlike COVID-19, monkeypox has been around for quite some time, so we know more about it, including that it was first discovered in 1958 when an outbreak occurred in a colony of monkeys. The first case of monkeypox in a person was reported in 1970.
Read more from Nancy Creech, MD, Summus VP of Clinical Operations and board-certified in Emergency Medicine, about monkeypox and how to get answers.
Monkeypox is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is a rare disease that does not naturally occur in the U.S. In the past, monkeypox cases were associated with travel to certain parts of the world where the disease is regularly found.
Signs & Symptoms. Those with monkeypox typically get rash on or near the genitals or on other areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash may also be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. It is important to note that symptoms and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. Most people will get a rash, but others may not develop any symptoms. Monkeypox is usually a mild illness that gets better on its own over a few weeks.
Spread. Monkeypox spreads through close contact with others, often through intimate skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. This type of contact can also occur at a rave, large party, or club where people may be in very close proximity to others. It can also spread by breathing in large respiratory droplets from extended face-to-face contact and while less common, through indirect contact, such as handling an infected person’s clothing.
Prevention and Protection. You can protect yourself from monkeypox by avoiding close contact with those who have a rash that looks like monkeypox and avoiding contact with those who have monkeypox. Vaccines are recommended for those who have been exposed or are at greater risk of getting monkeypox. Currently, there is a limited supply of vaccines. You can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for more information about vaccines and who should get one.
Summus Can Help
As the leading virtual specialty care provider, Summus can quickly connect our members with the world’s leading doctors — no matter where members are located — to get expert advice and answer all their questions. Employers and HR leaders can learn more about Summus and how we support employees across all health conditions and concerns — from monkeypox to Alzheimer’s and cancer to nutrition and wellbeing. Summus is here to answer any health question your employees have.
About the Author
Nancy Creech, MD, is the VP of Clinical Operations at Summus and served as a Clinical Instructor of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago of Medicine and completed her residency at NewYork-Presbyterian University Hospitals of Cornell and Columbia. She is board-certified in Emergency Medicine.