Monkeypox has now spread to at least 75 countries with more than 5,000 cases in the United States and 442 cases in Florida as of July 31, according to the Florida Department of Health.
This represents an increase of 169 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox here in one week, primarily in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange and Pinellas counties, and a large increase from the first possible case here on May 22.
On July 22, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern”, along with COVID-19 and poliomyelitis.
What is monkey pox? Should we be worried about it? How do you know if you have it? We have answers.
Monkeypox sightings around Florida:
What is monkey pox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It looks like smallpox (and belongs to the same family of viruses), but is milder and rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
Monkeypox occurs mainly in tropical rainforest areas in Central and West Africa and is occasionally found in other areas by travelers.
Is monkeypox fatal? Is there a remedy?
Currently, there is no safe and proven treatment for monkeypox, although there is a vaccine and FDA-approved antiviral drugs to treat smallpox may be considered for emergency treatment of monkeypox. monkey.
According to the World Health Organization, the case fatality rate has been around 3-6% lately. Those most likely to develop severe forms of the disease are children under 8, people with eczema, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.
However, monkeypox can be extremely painful. Lesions can cause severe pain, both persistent and, depending on the location, when using the bathroom or eating.
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Complications of monkeypox can include secondary infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, and corneal infection with subsequent loss of vision.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, and a rash of painful, itchy lesions often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body such as on or near the genitals or anus, hands, feet and chest.
Most people with monkeypox will have a rash, some will have other symptoms later or not at all.
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What does monkey pox look like?
The rash usually begins a few days after a fever, although in this latest outbreak the rash was spotted first, said Dr. Marshall Glesby, infectious disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian.
Once it arrives, the rash changes from simple lesions, to slightly raised, firm lesions, to clear fluid-filled lesions, to pustules (yellowish fluid-filled lesions), and then the lesions crust over and fall off. The number of lesions can vary from a few to several thousand.
How can I tell the difference between measles, chicken pox and monkey pox?
It is not easy. Chickenpox and monkeypox have been confused, and in some cases only medical tests will tell you which one.
The spread of the rash can also give you a clue. Monkeypox rashes often start on the face and spread elsewhere, usually one to five days after a fever. Chickenpox rashes tend to start on the chest, face, and back one to two days after a fever.
The biggest difference is that monkey pox can give you swollen lymph nodes, unlike chickenpox. The tests will determine that for sure.
Measles rashes start at the hairline or forehead and spread, and they look like flat red spots or slightly raised bumps with no fluid.
How long does monkeypox last? How long is monkeypox contagious?
Symptoms typically begin within three weeks of exposure to the virus, according to the CDC. From the onset of symptoms until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed – usually around 2-4 weeks – you are contagious.
How is monkeypox transmitted and contracted?
Monkeypox is transmitted through close, personal contact, often skin-to-skin. This can include direct contact with the rash, scabs, bodily fluids, or respiratory droplets of someone with the virus.
Monkeypox is not an STD, but it can be transmitted through oral, anal, and vaginal sex or through contact with the genitals of someone infected with the virus. Also through hugs, kisses, massages or prolonged face-to-face contact.
You cannot catch monkeypox from casual contact (handshake, kiss on the cheek) or from a toilet seat.
It is possible that monkeypox is transmitted by touching objects or fabrics (sheets, towels, clothing, sex toys) used by an infected person, but there is no evidence that anyone caught it this way during this time. outbreak, Glesby said.
It is also possible to contract monkeypox from infected animals, bites, scratches or bodily fluids, mainly from rodents. In the last outbreak in 2003, people were infected after coming into contact with prairie dogs.
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What should I do if I have a rash?
If you have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms, avoid close contact with anyone until you can be seen by a healthcare professional or local clinic. This includes sex or physical intimacy.
You may need to specifically request testing for monkeypox, as some healthcare providers are still learning about it and may not know it is spreading in the community.
Should I get vaccinated against monkeypox?
So far, those most at risk of monkeypox in the 2022 outbreak are gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, health officials say. It is also a danger to laboratory and medical personnel and anyone else, such as close family members of infected people, who may be exposed to monkeypox.
Monkeypox vaccines:How to get a monkeypox vaccine in the United States. Who should get one?
Where can I find the monkeypox vaccine near me? Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine?
There are two FDA-approved vaccines, but one of them, ACAM2000, is not recommended for people with weakened immune systems or those in close contact with them because it uses a live virus that can be transferable. The safest vaccine, JYNNEOS or MVA, isn’t as widely available, but the Biden administration has made more than 1.1 million doses of the vaccine available, with 5.5 million more to come in 2023. It requires two doses, taken four weeks apart.
In Florida, vaccines are available through your county health department or health care providers who have received doses from the health department. Due to scarcity of supplies, it is not available at local pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, or Publix.
Does the smallpox vaccine protect against monkeypox?
If you’re old enough to have received a smallpox vaccine before regular vaccination ended in the United States in the 1970s, you’ll likely still have some protection against monkeypox, experts say, but to what extent is not yet clear.
Should I be worried about monkeypox?
You should stay aware of this and pay attention to local media reports and updates from the local and state Department of Health.
Is monkeypox a homosexual disease?
No. Although the latest outbreak came to public attention due to an apparent super-spreading event among raves and bathhouses in Europe, the virus has likely spread and evolved in Nigeria over the past five years. , according to Dr. Ali Khan, epidemiologist and dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Monkeypox can be transmitted through close or intimate contact between anyone of any sexual orientation. In the United States, two children in close contact with infected family members have been diagnosed with it.
Gay people shouldn’t be stigmatized just because the virus started circulating among men who have sex with men, said Dr. Mahdee Sobhanie, an infectious disease specialist at Ohio State University Medical Center.
“Don’t think of it as a gay disease. It’s a disease that can happen through close contact,” he said.
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Contributor: Karen Weintraub, Mike Snyder, USA TODAY, Douglas Ray, Gainesville Sun
CA Bridges is a digital producer for the USA TODAY Network, working with multiple newsrooms across Florida. Local journalists work hard to keep you informed about the topics that interest you, and you can support them by subscribing to your local news agency. Read more of Chris’ articles here and follow him on Twitter at @cabridges