Monkeypox Outbreaks: Precautions To Reduce Your Risk

In these first six months of 2022, a total of 2103 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported, including one death.

98% of these cases have occurred since May 2022. While the majority of confirmed cases are from the European region, 42 countries worldwide have reported cases to the WHO since the beginning of the year.

It is spread virally only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a currently infected individual.

The CDC reiterates:

“Monkeypox is rare and does not spread easily between people without close contact. The threat of monkeypox to the general U.S. population remains LOW.”

Signs and Symptoms

The monkeypox virus is closely related to the smallpox virus, though it is considered less severe and less fatal.

Symptoms include:

  • Vesicle and pustule formation – a rash that looks like pimples or blisters on the face, hands, feet, genitals, chest, or inside the mouth
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Backache or muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion or fatigue

Symptoms generally last for 2-4 weeks.

Precautionary Measures to Prevent Infection

While monkeypox is still considered a rare disease, you should still take steps to reduce your risk of getting sick.

  • Always practice good hand hygiene by thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based sanitizer, especially after contact with a potentially infected person or animal.
  • Avoid contact with people or animals that could be sick or infected, including animals that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox cases have been reported.
  • Avoid contact with materials (bedding, clothing, etc.) that have been in contact with a sick person or animal.
  • Use personal protective equipment (gloves, mask, gown) when near a sick person or animal.
  • Be aware of reports in your local area and the symptoms, modes of transmission, and prevention.
  • Be extra cautious in crowded gatherings, discouraging skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact.

As with other viruses, taking responsibility and doing whatever you can to reduce potential spread is not just good for your health. It helps everyone around you stay safe as well.

If you have developed a pustule rash, fever, or other symptoms associated with monkeypox, seek medical attention immediately and inform your doctor of any recent contact with sick people or animals.

Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your prognosis and help prevent the spread of the virus to others.