Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Today, we’re going to shift our focus to talk about an emerging issue, monkeypox.
There have been over 20 reported cases in Maryland and close to a thousand in the United States. While there’s no reason to be alarmed, it’s important to be informed and aware of what to look for.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox, also known as MPX, is a virus spread through close contact. Monkeypox is a public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox. Scientists have been studying monkeypox since it was first discovered in humans more than 50 years ago.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox typically occur 1 to 2 weeks after exposure. They include:
- Rashes, blisters, or scabs on any part of the body and particularly on the face, palms or soles
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Body aches
How does monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads through prolonged contact either with the skin of an infected individual or things that they have touched such as clothing or bed sheets. This includes:
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions
- Sexual or intimate contact, including kissing
- Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone
- Sharing towels or unwashed clothing
- Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interactions which mainly happens when living with or caring for someone who has monkeypox
If you have any signs or symptoms of monkeypox see your doctor or seek treatment from an urgent care center. Next week we’ll talk more about groups at higher risk, vaccines and treatment. For more information you can go to our website at aahealth.org/monkeypox.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.