This digitally-colorized electron microscopic image depicted monkeypox virus particles, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. It was a thin section image from of a human skin sample. On the left were mature, oval-shaped virus particles, and on the right were the crescents, and spherical particles of immature virions. (CDC/Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery, Hannah Bullock)
More facts about monkeypox:
98% of reported cases are in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Monkeypox is rare but can spread quickly through close, personal contact with someone who is infected or contact with material (e.g., bedding or clothing) that is contaminated with the virus.
The virus usually lasts 2-4 weeks and is contagious from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed.
The monkeypox rash can look like blisters or pimples; spots may be itchy or painful.
The rash may be located on or near the genitals but can also appear on the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.
Humans and animals can spread monkeypox to each other through close contact. People with monkeypox should avoid contact with animals, including pets, domestic animals and wildlife.
Despite its name and the fact that it was first discovered in colonies of research monkeys, the source of the disease remains unknown.
The first human case was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.
If you or someone you live with has monkeypox or has been exposed to it, thoroughly disinfect your home. Orthopoxviruses can survive weeks or months in a typical household environment, especially in areas that are dark, cool and have low humidity.
The national supply of monkeypox vaccine is severely limited and vaccination is limited to those determined to be at greatest risk for contracting the virus.
Monkeypox is an Orthopoxvirus like smallpox, but monkeypox symptoms are milder and it rarely is fatal.
Monkeypox does not spread through:
Casual conversation with someone who is infected
Walking by someone who is infected
Sources: Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Virginia Department of Health, World Health Organization