Health Service is monitoring updates regarding monkeypox, a rare disease caused by an infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox has become a public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus.

According to the CDC, symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, chill, exhaustion, and a rash on the face, mouth, hands, feet, chest, or genitals. The rash will go through several stages and can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Monkeypox can spread through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person's infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. It can be spread by touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox. It can also be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact. The virus can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

To prevent getting monkeypox, CDC recommends avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used. Do not share eating utensils, cups, bedding, towels, or clothing with a person who has monkeypox symptoms. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

Health Service will consult with the PA Department of Health regarding any suspected cases of monkeypox. If someone develops symptoms of monkeypox or has questions about the virus, please call or email Health Service.

For more information about monkeypox, see the links below from the CDC:

Monkeypox signs and symptoms

Frequently asked questions about monkeypox

Monkeypox virus fact sheet from the PA Department of Health