What Is Monkeypox?

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By Alexandra Deryn

SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. (WENY) – New monkeypox cases are surging across the United States. The CDC is reporting, it will prioritize vaccine distribution to hard hit cities like New York City, the epicenter of the virus.

Lorelei Wagner is the Public Health Education Coordinator for Steuben County Public Health. Wagner is prepared for monkeypox cases to arise throughout the state of New York.

“Monkeypox is a contagious virus, typically presenting with rashes, bumps, or flu-like symptoms,” she said.

Wagner said this virus was mainly found in parts of Africa. Now, the virus is spreading internationally.

“Over the last month or so, we started seeing it…spread around the world and so, we are starting to see some cases in New York, primarily in the New York City area,” she said.

Wagner said the symptoms of monkeypox differ from chickenpox or smallpox. There are ways to differentiate the rashes you may see on your skin.

“They’re deep-seeded…kind of raised bumps,” she said. “You can’t pop them like a pimple so they have a unique…kind of…root or a look to them.”

Wagner said the bumps can be painful and irritating. A person with monkeypox can also experience flu-like symptoms.

“A headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes can come along with it that may present before or after the rash or not at all,” she said.

Monkeypox is contracted, typically, through close contact, she said. People can prevent getting monkeypox by being aware of the symptoms and not engaging in sexual contact, sharing clothing, bedding or towels until you have been tested by a medical professional.

Wagner said the vaccine, JYNNEOS, would be made available by New York State for anyone who tests positive for monkeypox.

“I don’t know if you want to say the ‘nice thing’ about this is, once someone has either been infected or in-contact, they can be given the vaccine to prevent severe illness from it,” she said.

Wagner said with most vaccines, a person wants to get it administered before they are exposed to a virus. With monkeypox, a person only needs the vaccine once they have been exposed.


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