In recent weeks, health officials have been tracking cases of monkeypox, a rare viral disease that has been reported in the US You may be wondering, how can you catch monkeypox, and how likely is that? Is it as serious a health threat as COVID? Here’s what the experts say. Read on to find out more — and to ensure your health and the health of others, do not miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It belongs to the same category of viruses as smallpox, although monkeypox causes much less severe disease. It’s a viral zoonosis, meaning it’s transmitted to humans from animals, and then from human to human. The disease is endemic to Africa, although recently several cases have been found around the world, including in Europe, Canada, and the US As of last Saturday, more than 100 cases had been found in 12 countries.
Monkeypox spread by close contact. According to the CDC, that means it can be transmitted via broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth. The most common ways to catch monkeypox include:
- Through large respiratory droplets. “Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required,” the agency says.
- Direct contact with body fluids or lesions
- Contact with contaminated clothing or linens
On Monday, the CDC warned that although anyone can catch monkeypox, the disease was spreading globally among gay and bisexual men. But monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease. “Anyone can spread monkeypox [from] contact with body fluid or monkeypox sores or respiratory droplets when close to someone, “said Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC’s Division of HIV / AIDS Prevention.
Officials say the general risk of catching monkeypox is low. “I do not think there’s a great risk to the general community from monkeypox right now in the United States,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, a veterinarian and deputy director of the CDC’s Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, on Monday.
“This is not COVID,” she added. “Respiratory spread is not the predominant worry. It is contact, and intimate contact, in the current outbreak setting and population. And that’s really what we want to emphasize.”
A person with monkeypox may develop a fever or swollen lymph nodes. Headache, exhaustion, and muscle aches are common.
The telltale sign of monkeypox is a rash on the face or body that turns into raised bumps which become blisters. The rash may start in the genital area and be mistaken for other issues like STDs, a CDC spokesman said Monday.
People with monkeypox are considered most infectious while they have a rash. The disease can last two to four weeks, and most people recover without treatments. The incubation period can be seven to 14 days, the CDC says. A person with monkeypox can be contagious from one day before they develop a rash to 21 days after symptoms appear.
And to protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That !, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more