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What You Should Know About Monkeypox

What You Should Know About Monkeypox

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when a group of scientists noticed the illness in research monkeys. Although it’s in the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, monkeypox is rarely fatal. However, monkeypox is contagious and can cause significant health problems for immunocompromised people.

MyDoc Urgent Care offers quality health care services with the convenience of walk-in visits and same-day doctor appointments to residents in and around Forest Hills, East Meadow, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, New York.

Our family and emergency medicine specialists are well-acquainted with accurately diagnosing infectious diseases like monkeypox. Read what the MyDoc team wants you to know about monkeypox and why you shouldn’t ignore your symptoms.

Where does monkeypox come from?

Although it’s been blamed on monkeys, the monkeypox virus occurs in many animals, including pouched rats, African dormice, squirrels, hedgehogs, and prairie dogs. These animals can pass the virus to humans, and people with monkeypox can transmit it to others through close contact.

The first recorded US monkeypox outbreak occurred in 2003 when a shipment of infected animals from Africa spread the virus to the pet prairie dog population. This outbreak eventually affected 47 people. Scientists link the 2022 outbreak in Africa, Europe, Australia, and the Americas to international travel. As of October 2022, the CDC estimates about 75,000 cases worldwide and 28,000 in the United States.

Monkeypox symptoms and possible health complications

The symptoms of monkeypox vary but typically include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, aching muscles and joints, and a rash. The rash may appear before or after the flu-like symptoms, starting as red bumps that eventually blister and fill with yellowish fluid. The pustules eventually dry out, scab over, and fall off.

Most people infected with the monkeypox virus recover fully within two to four weeks. However, serious health complications can include:

The monkeypox virus can also infect the transparent outer layer of your eyes (cornea), leading to possible vision loss.

People with weakened immune systems or an increased risk of infection are more likely to develop complications from the monkeypox virus, including people with diabetes, HIV, and eczema.

When should you see a doctor for the monkeypox virus?

Though uncomfortable, most people with monkeypox recover without lasting effects. However, because the illness is contagious and can spread more easily to the immunocompromised, in whom it may cause severe illness, it’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis.

Our MyDoc team recommends you come in if you’ve been exposed to someone with monkeypox or develop symptoms that may indicate an infection. Your provider may recommend testing and treatment based on an evaluation and your symptoms.

Treatments for monkeypox include therapies to relieve aches, fevers, and chills. Antivirals are often helpful when started early. If you have signs of corneal infection, you may require referral to an ophthalmologist for further treatment. You can also rely on your MyDoc provider to explain the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, sepsis, or other complications.

Take advantage of our walk-in services or same-day doctor visits today by visiting your nearest MyDoc office, giving us a call, or requesting more information online.

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