Monkeypox: what you need to know.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) are tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. Both New York State and New York City have declared states of emergency due to the current outbreak.

But what exactly is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to those of smallpox , and include an itchy and painful rash and sores, and flu-like symptoms.  They are typically milder and may show up anywhere from two weeks to 21 days after exposure. 

If you are experiencing symptoms, you should visit a healthcare provider for a test, which includes taking a swab of a sore. For those who do not have a provider, use 311 or the NYC Health Map to locate one. You should isolate from others and avoid close personal contact; do not share clothing, bedding, or utensils with others.

The virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has it, but can be spread through direct contact with a  monkeypox rash or with clothing, bedding and other items belonging to an infected individual. The virus is spread while an individual is symptomatic, and further research is being conducted as to whether the transmission window extends beyond this period. Prevention methods include avoiding intimate contact with multiple and/or anonymous partners, as well as avoiding personal items of those with the virus. 

There is currently a limited range of eligibility to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine, which consists of two doses given 4 weeks apart. Those at the highest risk of monkeypox exposure are encouraged to get vaccinated. Appointments are in short supply, but you can check here for availabilities within the five boroughs.

According to the World Health Organization, those who received the smallpox vaccine may have decreased susceptibility to monkeypox due to the relation between viruses.

For more information on the current outbreak and how to keep yourself safe, visit NYC Health.