How can I get monkeypox?

Can I get monkeypox by trying on a garment in a store that someone else tried on before? Or touching a sink in a public restroom? Or from being close to a person with the infection?

As monkeypox cases continue to rise around the world, people are asking these, among many other questions, and one of them is unavoidable: why another outbreak of this when we’re not yet rid of it? of COVID-19?


Monkeypox or monkeypox spreads in different ways. Viruses can be spread from one person to another through the following:

  • direct contact with the rash, scabs, or infectious body fluids.
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sexual intercourse.
  • contact with items (such as clothing or bedding) that previously came into contact with the rash or infectious body fluids.
  • pregnant people can transmit the virus to the fetus through the placenta.

Infection can also occur through intimate contact, including:

  • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or the anus (anus) of a person with monkeypox.
  • Hugs, massages and kisses.
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
  • Touching fabrics and objects during sexual intercourse that were used by a person with monkeypox and have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish items, and sex toys.

It is also possible for people to get monkeypox or monkeypox from infected animals, either by receiving a scratch or bite from the animal, or by preparing or eating meat from an infected animal or using products made from an infected animal.

However, in this new outbreak there have been cases of infections linked to men who have sex with men, which, emphasizes the WHO, does not make it a sexually transmitted disease. This is an unusual way of contracting the virus, and dozens of cases have already been reported in heterosexual people. In fact, this outbreak seems to be associated with increased person-to-person transmission, a form that, again, is not the usual one.

Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms begin until the rash has completely healed and a new layer of skin has formed. The illness usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks.

People who do not have symptoms of monkeypox cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is unknown if monkeypox can be spread through semen or vaginal secretions.

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The following are questions and answers from public health agencies that answer other concerns about transmission:

How long can this virus survive on surfaces or environments?

Environments can become contaminated with the monkeypox virus, for example, when an infected person touches clothing, bedding, towels, objects, electronic devices, and surfaces. Someone else who touches these items may become infected.

The virus can survive on surfaces for up to 15 days.

How is monkeypox NOT spread?

Monkeypox is not as contagious as COVID-19.

You don’t get it from casual conversation, or from running into someone with monkeypox in a grocery store.

The person must have prolonged physical contact or share bedding or clothing with someone who has the virus.

Can monkeypox be transmitted by sexual fluids? Could the condom prevent this contagion?

Using condoms during sex is an important way to protect yourself and others from HIV and other STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

It is not yet known if condoms reduce the risk of getting or giving monkeypox to another person during sex.

As more is learned about how the monkeypox virus is spread, it is important to know that this virus can be spread during any close physical contact, including sex.

When can an infected person transmit the virus?

You can spread monkeypox to others from the start of symptoms (like feeling like you have the flu) or the start of a rash, until all the scabs have fallen off and new skin covers all the spots caused by the infection. infection.

This entire process can take two to four weeks.

What about, for example, a massage therapist or chiropractor whose jobs involve touching people’s skin?

People with jobs that involve skin contact with clients or patients should look at or visually inspect the area of ​​skin they are treating for signs of monkeypox.

It is also important to ask the person if they have any flu-like symptoms (such as fever)

Do not touch anyone who has flu-like symptoms or a rash that could be monkeypox. (Flu-like symptoms can also be associated with COVID-19, which is another reason to ask patients or clients how they are feeling before providing services.)

Can a person get infected if they travel?

At this time, monkeypox is rare and considered a low threat to the general public. Almost all people who get monkeypox become infected by having a lot of skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact, such as kissing and having sex with someone with the infection at a time when that person has symptoms and can spread it.

However, you shouldn’t sleep in a hotel room that hasn’t been cleaned after the previous people left.

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Can you get monkeypox from a blood transfusion?

Blood should never be donated if the person is feeling unwell. If you have an appointment to donate blood, be very aware of whether you have symptoms.

There are strict protocols on when people can donate blood. The potential donor is asked questions about how they are feeling and any symptoms they are currently experiencing. This is done to reduce the risk of anyone with an infectious disease donating blood.

Of course, then tests are done on the donated blood.

So far, there have been no reports of monkeypox spreading through blood transfusions.

If the person already had monkeypox, can they get it again?

Experts say understanding of how long immunity lasts after monkeypox infection is currently limited.

It is not yet known whether a previous infection with monkeypox virus provides immunity against future infections and for how long, if so. Even if you have had monkeypox in the past, you should do everything you can to avoid re-infection.

If you have had monkeypox in the past and someone in your household has it now, you can protect others by being the designated caregiver, as you are more likely to have some immunity compared to other family members. But all precautions must be taken to avoid becoming infected.

More About Monkeypox: History, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that the Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys used for research.

The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), during a period of intensified efforts to eliminate smallpox.

Since then, cases of monkeypox have been reported in people from several other West and Central African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.

Most infections continue to occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The ongoing outbreak represents the first time that monkeypox has appeared in countries where it is not endemic.


The natural reservoir for monkeypox is unknown. However, African rodents and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys) can carry the virus and infect people.

The curious thing is that, as far as is known, monkeypox is transmitted from the infected animal to the human, the transmission from person to person is unusual. That is why the second hypothesis is that there are animals carrying the virus on this side of the ocean.

In fact, in a previous outbreak in 2003, about 50 people contracted the virus after several animals became infected from a shipment of animals from Ghana to Illinois.

Humans contracted the infection through contact with prairie dogs in several central and western states.

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Monkeypox is a disease that is not usually serious, but it is unpleasant.


The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of the flu, and usually appear one to two weeks after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Swollen glands

However, there is a big difference: the person infected with the virus that causes monkeypox develops blisters on the hands, arms and legs, and even on other parts of the body such as the back.

Similar to what happened with smallpox (eradicated from the world in the 1980s thanks to vaccination), these pustules are first small and then enlarge and fill with pus. They can itch, and take weeks to go away. Once they go away, the person is no longer contagious

Although monkeypox is usually a mild illness, complications can include pneumonia, vision loss, and sepsis, or a generalized infection that can be life-threatening.

Prevention and treatment

The best prevention is not to come into contact with wild animals, and to isolate the patient. Of course, hand washing is essential.

Also avoid close or intimate contact with people if symptoms occur.

If the person has monkeypox, they should be isolated.

Currently, there is no safe and proven treatment for monkeypox virus infection. To control an outbreak of monkeypox in the United States, smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immunoglobulin (VIG) can be used.

As in so many other viral infections, attention to symptoms and rest help the immune system to work and expel the virus.

The The infection cycle lasts about two to four weeks. In Africa, it is fatal in one in 10 people who get it.


Smallpox vaccination can protect against monkeypox, and can be used in high-risk contacts as preventive treatment after exposure.

Although smallpox is an infection eradicated more than four decades ago, many countries have maintained stocks of these vaccines to deal with outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa, and because there are dozens of viruses in the same family against which they can be used.

There are two vaccines available to protect people against monkeypox, Jynneos and ACAM2000. US federal government health officials are prioritizing the supply of Jynneos, given in two doses 28 days apart, because it has fewer side effects and can be used in immunocompromised people; unlike ACAM2000.

There are also at least three antiviral drugs used against this virus that are currently available in the United States.

As always, it is necessary to consult immediately with the doctor, who will make the diagnosis. And, as with most viruses, rest, staying hydrated and avoiding stress help the body do its job and expel the virus.

Sources: CDC, NIH, WHO, San Francisco Department of Health, HealthDay News, and wire services.

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