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Questions about monkeypox? Public health experts provide answers

The outbreak had reported more than 10,300 cases nationwide as of Wednesday, since the first monkeypox case was discovered in the United States in mid-May. I'm here.

Due to changing circumstances, the Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency last week.

Many questions have been raised in the last two and a half months about how the disease spreads, how it is treated, and what vaccines can prevent infection. I was.

An expert spoke to his ABC News about the main ways it spreads, why most patients don't need treatment, and what you can do to protect yourself.

How is monkeypox spread?

In the current outbreak, monkeypox spreads primarily through skin-to-skin contact with monkeypox patients or through rashes, lesions, scabs, or spread through contact with the body. fluid.

Monkeypox can be spread through intimate sexual contact, but there is no evidence that it is a sexually transmitted disease, as many cases have occurred during this outbreak.

It can also be spread through prolonged contact with objects or fabrics touched or used by monkeypox patients (clothing, bed sheets, towels, etc.), but at a lower risk .

PHOTO: People line up at a monkeypox vaccination site, July 28, 2022, in Encino, Calif.

People line up at a monkeypox vaccination station in Encino on July 28, 2022. California

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Dr Gabriela Andujar Vázquez, an infectious disease doctor at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and an epidemiologist at the hospital, told ABC News that people often walk past positive patients or use shared public spaces such as swimming pools. A person is much less likely to catch monkeypox by being exposed to it, he said.compared to skin-to-skin contact, in gyms, restrooms, or on public transport.

"We do not believe that shared bathrooms, changing rooms, or anything shared in public or even within the home is a major transmission channel," he said. she said. "It's really direct contact with an infectious person."

This differs fromthe previous monkeypox epidemic in 2003. This has been associated with contact with a pet prairie dog that became infected after being kept near small mammals in Ghana.

Dr. Jessica Justman, associate professor of epidemiological medicine at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, emphasized that this situation could change.

“I think we have learned with COVID that things can change, especially with public health dealing with an outbreak. We just need to be prepared to change, as we get more information," Justman told ABC News. "And COVID was a brand new virus.

She added, "But the current outbreak has many features that distinguish it from previous outbreaks."

Signs and Symptoms

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The most common symptoms are arm, leg, chest, A rash that can appear on or near the face or genitals.

Lesions begin as black patches on the skin before progressing to fluid and/or pus-filled bumps.

Finally, the lesions scab and eventually slough off. A person may be left with scars and skin discoloration, but health officials say once the scabs are gone and a new layer of skin forms, the person is no longer infected. }


What You Need to Know About Monkeypox


Other symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, chills, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes.

Available treatments

Most monkeypox patients recover within 2 to 4 weeks without specific treatment, such as Tylenol for fever and topical analgesics for rash. receive “supportive care” for

However, some patients at high risk of severe disease, such as those with weakened immune systems, may benefit from treatment.

"If a patient needs a little more help in dealing with a rash, there are antiviral drugs that can be given to the patient," he said. "But it's for a subset of patients. Not all patients need to take antiviral medications."

Tecovirimat, known by the brand name TPOXX, is an effective treatment for smallpox. It is a two-week pill approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a drug.

However, TPOXX was made available for the treatment of monkeypox under "compassionate use" by the CDC after animal studies showed it could reduce the risk of death. became.

Vaccines to Prevent Infection

He has two vaccines that can be used to prevent monkeypox.

He JYNNEOS is the only vaccine currently in use, a two-dose vaccine approved by the FDA to prevent smallpox and monkeypox.

"Ideally, he would get the vaccine within 4 days of infection, but we believe he will be able to get the vaccine after 14 days of infection." , said Andu Havasquez.

Data from Africa indicate that his two doses of JYNNEOS were at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox infection.

Another US stockpiled vaccine, ACAM2000, has not been used.

PHOTO: A health care worker administers a dose of the JYNNEOS Monkeypox vaccine at a pop-up vaccination clinic in Los Angeles, Aug. 9, 2022.

Health worker administers his JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine in pop-up 2022 Immunization clinic in Los Angeles, Aug. 9.

AFP via Getty Images

JYNNEOS available To increase the number of immunizations against the virus, health officials announced Tuesday they would implement a new strategy,which involves injecting the vaccine just under the first layer of skin. subcutaneously, or under all layers of the skin.

This will allow him to distribute 1 vial of vaccine in 5 doses instead of 1.


The risk of monkeypox remains low for most Americans, experts say. However, they recommend good hand hygiene andfollowing CDC guidelines for practicing safer sex

[without monkeypox] at the door. You don't open it or touch the surface," Justman said.