Monkeypox: What You Need to Know
In recent weeks, there has been an increase in monkeypox infections with Los Angeles County reporting 85 new cases. Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is related to the smallpox virus. It is less severe and far less contagious than smallpox, and usually results in mild disease lasting from two to four weeks. It is rarely life-threatening and is not related to COVID-19 virus.
Monkeypox can spread from skin-to-skin contact or when a person has close, physical contact with an infected person. People can also contract monkeypox if they come in contact with materials or objects contaminated with the virus.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Rash (looks like pimple or blisters)*
- Swollen lymph nodes
*Rash can appear on the face, inside the mouth and other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. Rash often goes through several stages and can last two to four weeks.
The vaccine that prevents smallpox is also effective for monkeypox. At this time, there is a national shortage of the monkeypox vaccine, and currently only available for people with certain risk factors. Persons who are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to monkeypox should contact their provider immediately to see if they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
The County of Los Angeles Public Health has opened several locations where eligible persons can receive the monkeypox vaccine. Those who meet the criteria can now make an appointment at a designated Public Health clinic or walk up to one of three Public Health vaccination pods to receive the monkeypox vaccine.
CLICK HERE to see eligibility criteria and Public Health vaccination sites.