‘Anyone can get Monkeypox’: State health officials raise awareness about new virus

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 9:57 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State health officials held a press conference Tuesday to raise awareness about the new Monkeypox virus that’s highly transmissible to anyone.

“No matter your gender, no matter your sexual orientation, anyone can get Monkeypox,” Mississippi State Department of Health Epidemiologist Paul Byers said.

MSDH reported the first case of the virus this week.

MSDH said its goal is to identify cases, prevent transmission, and ensure the public is aware of the risks.

“There are multiple ways to get Monkeypox. The incubation period is usually one to two weeks and once an individual develops symptoms, it usually starts as fever - flu-like symptoms and muscle aches but it usually develops into a rash that can look like lots of different things. It can start out flat, but it can also be blisters. It can look like pimples and typically it can be in several parts of the body. It can be on the face, hands, or genitals. And, for some, it can be a very painful rash.” Byers said.

An investigation is underway to identify anyone who may have encountered the patient while they were infectious.

Meanwhile, here are details from the health department on how the virus is spread, what the symptoms are, and when you should see a doctor.

How Monkeypox is spread:

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal contact — including skin-to-skin contact such as:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox
  • Through respiratory droplets from face-to-face contact with a person who has monkeypox

Monkeypox does not spread easily without close contact.

This contact can happen during any intimate sexual contact:

  • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex
  • Hugging, massage, or touching any body part with monkeypox sores
  • Kissing and talking closely
  • Touching fabrics and objects used by a person with monkeypox, such as bedding, towels or surfaces that have come into contact with them

Monkeypox symptoms:

Early symptoms of monkeypox are usually flu-like:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Other symptoms usually develop a few days later:

  • A rash or sores, sometimes located on or near the genitals or anus, but sometimes in other areas such as the hands, feet, chest or face. These sores will go through several stages before healing.
  • Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.

Note: Some people experience a rash or sores first, followed by other symptoms and some only experience a rash or sores.

When to see your doctor:

If you have a new or unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms, see your healthcare provider.

  • Remind your healthcare provider that the monkeypox virus is circulating in the community
  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked by a medical professional

If you become infected with Monkeypox, MSDH said you should follow the treatment and prevention recommendations of your healthcare provider and avoid intimacy with anyone until all your sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin formed.

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