August 03, 2022

Are You at Risk of Catching Monkeypox?

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In early August 2022, the White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Our collective psyche is still probably a bit rattled from the previous public health emergency that’s still ongoing—the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s fair to wonder what’s going on here and be a little nervous at the same time.

But the declaration provides additional resources to people and increases access to care through medication and vaccines. The virus is not nearly as contagious or as deadly as COVID-19 was when it emerged in the U.S. in early 2020.

Centers Health Care has details on what monkeypox is and what the chances are of you catching it.

What Is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral disease that came from rodents and primates in west and central Africa and has been transmitted to humans. Symptoms include painful rashes, fever, headache, chills, and some respiratory symptoms, and it is rarely fatal.

How Does Monkeypox Spread

Most of the cases in the U.S. have involved men who had sex with other men, but it’s believed that it’s spreading in the gay community because one of the largest outbreaks came from a party in Europe that was attended by gay men.

While research is ongoing to see if monkeypox and be spread sexually, it is NOT a sexually transmitted disease. It spreads through close contact for a prolonged period of time between individuals, so an intimate encounter is as much of a risk factor as attending a crowded party and having skin-to-skin contact through activities like dancing.

Other High-Risk Activities

People living in the same house with an infected person have a higher risk of contracting the virus through close contact or through contaminated clothes, towels, bedding, and shared items like utensils or glassware.

Lower-Risk Activities

Experts don’t believe that monkeypox travels through the air as easily as COVID-19 does, so maintaining distance from people is a good preventative measure. It’s also not believed that activities like sitting on a bus or subway, touching railings or door handles, or trying on clothes will put people at much risk.

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