Monkeypox: What is it? How does it spread?
Posted on 07/15/2022
Source: CDC

Monkeypox cases are on the rise in the United States and in Washington State. According to the 
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the first case of monkeypox in Washington State was confirmed on May 27, 2022


According to the Washington Department of Health (WADOH), 42 people in Washington state have tested positive for orthopoxvirus, including one person who was exposed in another state, but tested positive in Washington. All positive cases of orthopoxvirus are considered likely monkeypox.WADOH confirmed there have been no reported deaths in the current outbreak and no reported cases of monkeypox in Benton or Franklin Counties. Still, due to its presence in the state, Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) is encouraging everyone to learn about the disease and for anyone with symptoms of monkeypox or who has been in close contact with someone with monkeypox to contact a health care provider for evaluation.  


BFHD is working with the Washington State Department of Health to slow the spread of monkeypox through established and effective public health measures for controlling and preventing infectious diseases. Rapid identification of monkeypox cases is key to bringing the outbreak under control. Vaccination is most effective in preventing disease when given within four days of exposure. BFHD will coordinate with WA DOH and CDC to provide vaccine to Benton and Franklin County residents if they are identified as a close contact to someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox. 


The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set forth new vaccine strategy and guidelines to mitigate the spread of monkeypox includes providing access across the U.S. to 296,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine, "a prophylactic use against monkeypox in areas with the highest transmission." 


"Our goal right now is to ensure that the limited supply of JYNNEOS vaccine is deployed to those who can benefit from it most immediately, as we continue to secure additional vaccine doses," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O'Connell.

411 on Monkeypox

What is monkeypox? 

The CDC reports that monkeypoxis a rare viral disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, like smallpox but has no relation to the chickenpox virus. It occurs in rodents and non-human primates in central and West Africa. Infection can spread from both animals and humans by close physical contact.

Is monkeypox a new virus? 

According to the CDC, the first discovery of monkeypox was in 1958, when researchers found colonies of monkeys involved in research displayed a pox-like disease. The virus's origin is still unknown, and the first human case was reported in 1970, according to the CDC. Before the outbreak of monkeypox in 2022, CDC reported, "nearly all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs, or through imported animals."
What are the symptoms of monkeypox? A rash that can look like pimples or blisters may turn into raised bumps, which then fill with fluid. The rash eventually scabs over, and the scabs fall off. Before the rash is visible, doctors report that people may have flu-like symptoms: 

    • Fever
    •  Headache
    • Muscle aches and backaches
    •  Swollen lymph nodes
    •  Chills
    •  Exhaustion

If you have a new rash, sores, or other symptoms, you should avoid sex or intimate contact and reach out to your healthcare provider reminding them of monkeypox. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days. Health experts from the CDC said that "monkeypox can spread at any time the symptoms start until sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed after several weeks."
How is it spread? Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact, including intimate sexual contact:

    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sore or scab. 
    • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels), and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox.  

The CDC reports monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, but the virus can be spread in fluid from sores, but scientists are trying to determine if semen, vaginal fluid or other body fluids could transmit the virus. 

What is the Treatment for Monkeypox if you are exposed?

Doctors said that most people recover in two to four weeks, but the disease could be severe for children, people who are pregnant, or those immune-compromised. No specific treatment for monkeypox exists. Healthcare providers may prescribe antiviral medicine for people who are at high risk of severe disease.
The monkeypox and smallpox viruses are similar. Antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to treat and prevent monkeypox.

People exposed to monkeypox virus who have not had smallpox vaccine in the last three years should consider getting vaccine.
Since the Monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the CDC has found that "the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting monkeypox." Two vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are available for preventing monkeypox infection – JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000. For those who receive the smallpox or monkeypox vaccine, minor reactions can occur like mild fever, tiredness, swollen glands, or redness and inching at the injection site.

CDC recommends:

    • The monkeypox vaccine is given within four days from the date of exposure to prevent the onset of the disease. 
    •  If given between 4–14 days after the date of exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms of the disease but may not prevent the disease.
    • If you suspect you have been exposed to monkeypox, while awaiting the confirmed test results, individuals who are suspected to be positive should isolate themselves at home. If they have an active rash or other symptoms, they should be in a separate room or area from other family members and pets when possible.


     To stay up-to-date with the latest cases in Benton and Franklin Counties visit: Monkeypox - Benton Franklin Health District (