Monkeypox : Everything You Need to Know
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is not commonly seen in the U.S. Typical symptoms include fever, malaise and a rash that may appear as pimples or blisters. Monkeypox is spread by close contact with an infected person, or by touching clothing or linens that were in contact with the infected person’s rash or body fluids.
How monkeypox spreads
Monkeypox is rare and does not spread easily between people without close contact. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
The virus can spread from person-to-person through:
- Intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, wrestling, or sex
- Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact
- Touching items (such as clothing, towels, or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
Symptoms of monkeypox
A person cannot spread monkeypox unless they have symptoms.
Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox, but symptoms are milder and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands/palms, feet/soles of feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
Vaccines used to prevent smallpox can provide protection against Monkeypox. However, they are not currently widely available in Texas, and only those recently exposed are eligible for the vaccine which is administered by the Department of Health.
There are also anti-viral medications designed for smallpox that can also be used against Monkeypox, but they are only given in the hospital setting and are also not widely available.
Monkeypox Testing at ER of Texas Emergency Center
At ER of Texas Emergency Center, we are able to provide testing for Monkeypox if our Emergency Physician feels you have a rash consistent with the disease. Remember, most Monkeypox care is supportive and no specific medications will be given in the ER setting other than those medications to alleviate symptoms you may have associated with the rash.
For further questions or guidance regarding Monkeypox or the vaccine, residents can call their local Health Department.
Our ER is open 24/7 to help treat and diagnose minor and major medical emergencies. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us or just walk-in. Our board-certified physicians are available 24 hours.