Stigma and misinformation can hurt our community and make it harder to keep everyone mentally and physically healthy. Stigma creates fear or anger toward ordinary people instead of focusing on the disease causing the problem. No single person or group of people is more likely than others to spread diseases. Stigma keeps people from seeking the right information and care immediately and prevent individuals from adopting healthy behaviors. We are committed to reducing stigma and misinformation by providing accurate health information. We are stronger as a community when we stand together against stigma and misinformation.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is related to the variola virus, which causes Smallpox. Due to its similarity to Smallpox, Monkeypox is a public health concern in terms of the signs and symptoms of the disease and how it spreads. Recently there has been an unusual increase in monkeypox cases in locations where Monkeypox is not commonly seen. The current risk of getting Monkeypox for the general public is very low.
Monkeypox symptoms may include:
- Tiredness or low energy
- Swollen lymph nodes
- General body aches
- Rash or Pimple- or Blister-Like Sores That May Have These Features:
- Sores are painful or itchy
- Sores go through multiple stages before healing. Individual sores may be in different stages
- Commonly found on or near genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, and face
- May be found on multiple parts of the body or only one part
By far, the most common symptom of Monkeypox is rash and sores. Some individuals will experience all these symptoms, while others may only experience a few.
Monkeypox commonly spreads through direct contact with sores, scabs, or bodily fluids. Some ways this can happen include:
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with the Monkeypox rash or sores;
- Intimate contact with someone with a monkeypox infection, including sex, kissing, hugging, etc.;
- Sharing a bed with someone;
- Touching unwashed materials used by someone with Monkeypox, such as towels, clothes, or bedding;
- Respiratory fluids passed through prolonged face-to-face contact, such as when living with or caring for someone with Monkeypox.
There are many ways to help prevent the spread of Monkeypox:
- Speak with your sexual partner(s) about recent illness and be aware of any new rashes or sores on your bodies;
- Avoid close contact with people that have symptoms;
- Practice good hand hygiene;
- Use personal protective equipment; including a mask, gown, and gloves, when caring for people who are sick;
- Avoid contact with infectious materials such as dirty clothes or bedding;
- Avoid contact with infected animals.
What to do if you have symptoms:
If you start having any of the symptoms described above or suspect you may have Monkeypox, follow these tips:
- Stay home;
- Isolate from others. If you must be around others, wear a mask;
- Practice good hand hygiene;
- Cover any blisters, rash, or lesions;
- Avoid contact with animals, including pets, domestic animals, and wildlife;
- Wash surfaces and materials you may have touched while you had symptoms, including bedding, towels, clothing, sex toys, and surfaces such as door handles or countertops;
- Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until all your sores have healed and you have a fresh layer of skin formed;
- Contact your health care provider to talk about diagnosis, testing, and treatment options.
Public health officials are tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox (view global map), including the United States. For travelers, see: Travel Health Notice for Monkeypox in Multiple Countries.