Monkeypox is a rare viral disease related to smallpox. It is called “monkeypox” because it was first found in 1958 in laboratory monkeys, though other types of animals may carry it. Monkeypox was reported in humans for the first time in 1970.
U.S. monkeypox cases are very rare. Monkeypox does not occur naturally in the United States, but cases have happened that were associated with international travel or importing animals from areas where the disease is more common.
If you believe you are at high-risk or may have been exposed to Monkeypox, call our Tarrant County Public Health Call Center at 817-248-6299 to find out if you are eligible for a vaccine and to schedule an appointment.
Visit this CDC Monkeypox website to keep up-to-date with the current locations and number of Monkeypox cases.
The CDC is tracking multiple clusters of monkeypox that have been reported in early- to mid-May in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including in Europe and North America.
It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox but cases include people who self-identify as men who have sex with men or who have large sexual networks. CDC is urging healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox.
The illness begins with:
The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
Within one to three days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
The illness typically lasts for two − four weeks. In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as one in ten peoople who contract the disease.
Human-to-human transmission typically occurs through respiratory droplets or contact with an infected patient’s skin lesions, such as when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human or materials contaminated with the virus.
Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required. Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
Visit the CDC's website on Social Gatherings, Safer Sex and Monkeypox to read more about how the virus can spread through sexual activity or at raves, parties, clubs, and festivals.
Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch, bush meat preparation, direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated bedding.
People who have not had close contact with a wild or exotic animal or infected person are not likely at risk.
Currently, there are no specific treatments available for monkeypox infection. However, outbreaks can be controlled by use of existing medications: Smallpox vaccine, cidofovir, ST-246, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG).
The CDC recommends that people investigating monkeypox outbreaks and involved in caring for infected individuals or animals should receive a smallpox vaccination to protect themselves against monkeypox. People who have had close or intimate contact with individuals or animals confirmed to have monkeypox also should be vaccinated. People can be vaccinated up to 14 days after exposure.
Visit this CDC website about Treatment to learn more.
People who think they may have been exposed to a person or an animal with monkeypox should contact their health care provider or call the Tarrant County Public Health Call Center at 817-248-6299.
CDC Travel Guidance
Currently, the CDC has issued a Travel Alert Level 2.
County Telephone Operator 817-884-1111
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