Monkeypox is a rare infection caused by a virus called monkeypox. This condition is very dangerous and can cause serious illness or death.
It is spread by close contact with infected animals such as monkeys, squirrels, raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes. People can become infected by touching an animal that has been exposed to the virus and then touching their eyes, nose, mouth, or skin.
People may also become infected after handling contaminated items such as clothing, bedding, toys, food, or equipment.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, cough, sore throat, eye irritation, rash, and blisters.
In severe cases, there may be pneumonia, difficulty breathing, seizures, coma, and death.
How do you catch monkeypox?
There are two main ways you can get monkeypox:
• Directly from an infected person
• Through contact with an object that was contaminated with the virus
Directly from an infected person:
This usually happens when someone comes into direct contact with an infected animal. For example, a person may touch a pet monkey or bat and then touch his/her eyes, nose, mouth or skin.
Through contact with an object that had been contaminated with the virus:
This usually occurs when people handle objects that were used by an infected person. For example, a child may play with a toy that was touched by an infected person.
To prevent monkeypox, avoid any contact with wild animals or their droppings. If you come into contact with these animals, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately. Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth and face.
Do not let children play with animals that they find outdoors.
If you think you have monkeypox, see a doctor right away. The earlier treatment begins, the better the chance of recovery.