Information regarding the recent Monkeypox outbreak
In 2022, Monkeypox was identified in the United States in a Massachusetts resident who traveled outside the country. Additional infections have since been identified in other states.
- Press Release: First Probable Case of Monkeypox Identified in New Hampshire (June 29, 2022)
Monkeypox is rare and does not spread easily between people without close contact. The threat of monkeypox to the general U.S. population remains LOW.
Symptoms are most often mild, but in rare cases a more severe illness can occur that might require hospitalization. See below FAQs for more information.
Monkeypox in New Hampshire
|Number of Probable and Confirmed Cases|
Data as of 6/29/2022
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same group of viruses as smallpox. Monkeypox got its name because the virus was first found in laboratory monkeys in 1958 and because of the “pox” type skin lesions that usually occur after a person is infected. The virus has been found in different kinds of rodents and primates in western and central African countries where monkeypox normally occurs.
Where do monkeypox infections occur?
Most human monkeypox infections occur in western and central Africa. Infections have occurred outside of Africa usually when a person became infected while traveling in western or central Africa, or were infected from animals that had come from Africa. However, recently people living in multiple countries who have not traveled to Africa have been infected with monkeypox. Public health officials are investigating to better understand how the virus is spreading, and preliminary evidence suggests that it is spreading from one person to another through close physical contact, including physical contact that occurs during sex.
Have there been monkeypox infections in the United States?
Yes, the first monkeypox infection identified in the United States in 2022 occurred in a Massachusetts resident who traveled outside of the country. Additional monkeypox infections have since been identified in multiple other states. CDC has updated information about numbers and locations of monkeypox infections in the U.S. on their website.
How is monkeypox spread?
People become infected with monkeypox when the virus enters the body through broken skin, the mucous membranes (like the eyes, nose, mouth, genital tract), or after breathing in respiratory droplets that contain the virus. Exposure most easily occurs when a person is comes into physical contact with another person or animal that is sick with monkeypox, or after physical contact with infected body fluids on contaminated surfaces, bedding, and clothing. Monkeypox can also be spread from person-to-person through large respiratory droplets when a person is face-to-face (within several feet) of another person who is sick with monkeypox, but this seems to require very close and prolonged contact.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptoms of monkeypox usually include fever, headache, exhaustion, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, and swollen lymph nodes. A few days after the start of these symptoms, a skin rash or skin spots appear that change over time. At first, the rash may start as flat reddish areas on the skin and then develop into raised bumps. These bumps then become filled with a clear fluid and eventually change to pus-filled bumps. The skin rash becomes crusty and forms scabs, which eventually fall off. People with monkeypox are contagious until all skin lesions have scabbed over and fallen off a person’s skin. The rash may affect only one area of the body or it might spread across multiple parts of a person’s body. The illness usually lasts for 2-4 weeks. Symptoms are most often mild, but in rare cases a more severe illness can occur that might require hospitalization.
How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually appear within 7-14 days after exposure, with a range of 5-21 days.
How is monkeypox diagnosed?
A healthcare provider swabs the skin rash and a laboratory diagnoses monkeypox through special testing.
Who should be tested for monkeypox?
Any person with a new skin rash or skin lesions concerning for monkeypox, especially if accompanied by other monkeypox symptoms, should talk to their healthcare provider. Testing should be considered if the skin rash and other symptoms occurred:
- Within a few weeks after traveling to another country where monkeypox is being reported
- After close contact to a person who has a similar skin rash, or who is suspected or confirmed to have monkeypox
- After intimate physical or sexual contact with a partner, especially in men who have sex with other men, or after intimate/sexual contact that occurred during travel
Is there a vaccine to prevent monkeypox?
There are vaccines that can prevent monkeypox, but they are not currently available to the general public. If a person is exposed to monkeypox, these vaccines could be used to prevent that person from developing monkeypox, but a public health investigation will help determine if vaccination is needed.
What is the treatment for monkeypox?
Usually monkeypox causes mild illness and people are treated with supportive care to relieve their symptoms. In the rare situation where a person develops severe disease, there are medications being studied that may be available.
How can monkeypox be prevented?
Anybody diagnosed with monkeypox is required to isolate at home, and a public health investigation identifies other people who may have been exposed so their health can be monitored and to prevent further spread. A person with monkeypox is not considered contagious and able to spread monkeypox until they develop symptoms.
To prevent spread of this and other diseases, people should avoid close contact with others who are sick or who have new skin rashes, cover coughs and sneezes, and practice good and frequent hand hygiene.
Where can I find more information on monkeypox?
If you have concerns about monkeypox, you should contact your healthcare provider. For more information about monkeypox, visit the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/monkeypox/.