MonkeyPox outbreak prevention

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Monkey Pox continues to spread across the nation, now at 7,510 confirmed cases, leaving the state of Oklahoma at 11 confirmed cases.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 as a virus, in the same family as smallpox, but is milder. Though this virus has been around for a while, the outbreak is new to the United States.

Megan Garibay, an Infection Preventionist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, said anyone is subject to contracting the virus, but a certain demographic is more likely to get Monkeypox.

“The main way this is being transmitted right now, what we’re seeing, it’s being transmitted primarily in men who have sex with men, and it’s being transmitted primarily through close intimate contact with someone who has the Monkeypox virus,” Garibay said.

Tarisa Watson, an Infection Preventionist for Duncan Regional Hospital, said symptoms after contracting Monkeypox start around 7 to 12 days, and they appear as flu-like symptoms.

“But after about 4 to 7 days you’re looking at a rash that appears mainly, we were looking for it on hands, feet, arms. But with this particular outbreak were also seeing that rash on the face, around the mouth, and in the genital regions,” Watson said.

The treatment after contracting the virus is to quarantine at home, emergency room treatment is not needed.

“If you’ve been exposed, if your positive, or if you think you’ve been exposed. CDC guidance right now recommends that you isolate for 21 days, but you are contagious until that last blister crust and falls off and new skin is appearing,” Watson said.

Garibay said there are other ways to contract Monkeypox, besides intimate and close contact.

“Could potentially be transmitted through contact with, things like bed linen, and towels that the person with Monkeypox has used. Those are certainly things to watch out for as well. But people need to know that it’s not, they’re not going to go to Walmart and use a shopping cart, touch the shopping cart, and then get Monkeypox from that, that’s not how it’s transmitted,” Garibay, said.

Just like any virus, there is one thing experts have been recommending for prevention.

“Of course, not to beat a dead horse, but hand hygiene is really crucial,” Garibay said.

According to the CDC, there are two vaccinations for Monkeypox, but they said there is no data available yet on the effectiveness of these vaccines in this current outbreak.

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