Updated July 20, 2022
Monkeypox: Not Science Fiction
The name itself just sounds scary, and with the recent news coverage it can be hard to figure out what is truth and what is fiction. Let’s walk through Monkeypox together:
Where did this come from?
Monkeypox is a pox-like virus that was first discovered in colony of monkeys in the 1950s – hence where the name originated. The first human case of monkeypox was discovered in the late 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since then, most infections have been confined to the DRC with a few cases reported outside of Africa – including the United States – due to international travel.
How serious is Monkeypox?
The good news is most individuals who are infected with monkeypox have what the CDC calls a “mild, self-limiting disease response”. Simply put, most patients recover at home once diagnosed and treated by a medical provider. The typical progress of the disease is that symptoms start with fever, headache, and fatigue (sometimes sore throat and cough as well) and swollen lymph nodes, lasting 1-2 days before the onset of the typical rash which includes lesions in the mouth and tongue followed by on the skin, starting on the face and spreading to the arms and legs and then to the rest of the body. Like many viruses, the outcome of a monkeypox infection is impacted by underlying health conditions, comorbidities, access to health care, and initial health status.
Should we be concerned about Monkeypox in the United States?
Unless you are in contact with a person infected with monkeypox there is no need for concern at this time. Be aware of your surroundings when traveling and practice proper hand hygiene to help protect yourself from all viruses (not just monkeypox or COVID). At present, the CDC is urging healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox and we will keep you informed should there be an uptick in cases in our areas. Testing for Monkeypox is now being expanded across the region among state and commercial laboratories and PhysicianOne Urgent Care remains prepared to test for Monkeypox as needed.