The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across the United States. According to the CDC, Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Scientists at the CDC, along with state and local public health partners, tracked over 3,000 cases of monkeypox in the United States as of July 25, 2022. CDC is urging healthcare providers in the United States to be on alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox. Distinguishing features include papules, vesicles, pustules, or scabs that are deep-seated, firm or rubbery, and have well-defined round borders. The lesions can sometimes have a dent in the middle of them. They may be painful, painless, or itchy. People with monkeypox may develop symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, or swollen lymph nodes.

How can the community help prevent the spread of infections like monkeypox?

According to the CDC, the following three steps can be taken to help prevent getting monkeypox:

  1. Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    1. Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
    2. Do not kiss, hug, cuddle with someone with monkeypox.
  1. Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
    1. Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
    2. Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  1. Wash your hands often.
    1. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

The CDC recommendations for healthcare settings to follow the Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings (2007). Non-healthcare settings should follow CDC’s Preventing Monkeypox Spread in Congregate Settings.

More healthcare information can be found at CDC’s website: Infection Prevention and Control of Monkeypox in Healthcare Settings.

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