Another Outbreak to Add to the List: Monkeypox

Updated by Sahasra Tummala with new information regarding the Monkeypox outbreak revealed after May 26, 2022!

As families were getting ready to go on vacations, CDC confirmed the case of an adult male in Massachusetts as the first case of monkeypox in the United States on May 18. Although it is endemic to central and western Africa, this virus has spread rapidly outside of Africa. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control), as of July 25, there are 3,487 confirmed cases in just the US, with 18,095 confirmed cases globally. This rapid increase in cases has led WHO, known as the World Health Organization, to label the monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Just last month, on June 25, WHO declined to label the monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, but that is not the case now. So what is monkeypox? Monkeypox is an infection caused by a virus in the same family as smallpox. It was first discovered in 1958 when a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence its name.

This infection originates in small mammals like rodents (rats, squirrels) and non-human primates (monkeys, apes). As a result, this virus initially transmits from animal to human contact, which can be through a bite or scratch or by consuming undercooked animal meat. From there, it can infect other people by inhaling respiratory droplets, touch, close contact with lesions and bodily fluids like saliva, or by indirect contact via clothing. 

Contrary to what some believe, monkeypox is not a gay disease. However, recent findings suggest that gay and bisexual men are at more risk for this virus. Therefore, during this time, we should give the LGBTQ+ community the support it needs while not stigmatizing monkeypox, as Trevor Noah has suggested. Other vulnerable individuals include children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people.

As for more information, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox. The main difference is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. Other signs include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Enlargened lymph nodes
  • Muscle aches

According to the CDC, when one is infected with monkeypox, “Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, (they) develop a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.” Lesions progress from small flat spots to tiny blisters and large pus-filled blisters similar to chickenpox. When they turn into scabs, the person is no longer contagious. This illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Complications include pneumonia, vision loss due to eye infection, and sepsis, a life-threatening infection where chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body.

So what should we do? Well, prevention is always more imperative than treatment. There are numerous ways to take care of ourselves and inhibit these transmissions. Few of these methods include but are not limited to:

  • Avoiding contact with sick and dead animals
  • Maintaining good hygiene
  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients
  • Limiting products derived from wild animals of Africa (creams, lotions, powders, etc.)
  • Avoiding contact with contaminated materials used by sick people (such as clothing, bedding, or materials used in healthcare settings)

When it comes to treatment, as of July 25, 2022, the Texas Department of State Health Services publicized that it received a shipment of 14,780 doses of the JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) monkeypox vaccine, with 5,120 forwarded to Dallas County Health and Human Services. Another vaccine approved by the FDA, known as the US Food and Drug Administration, is ACAM2000, which has a larger supply than JYNNEOS but cannot be of service to people with health conditions, such as a weakened immune system, skin conditions like atopic dermatitis/eczema, or pregnancy. According to Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, the side effects of ACAM2000 ensure that it most likely will be seen in wide use only if there were to be a large smallpox epidemic, providing a reason for efforts to increase the limited supply of JYNNEOS doses.

As of June 30, 2022, there have been 12 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Texas, and we hope the number will not climb higher. To ensure this number does not increase, we must take precautions, so make sure to take care of your health! 

Works Cited

Diller, Nathan. “CDC Monkeypox Warning Urges ‘Enhanced Precautions’ for Travel.” Washington Post, 25 May 2022,

Paquette, Danielle, and Rael Ombuor. “As Monkeypox Panic Spreads, Doctors in Africa See a Double Standard.” Washington Post, 24 May 2022,

“Monkeypox in Multiple Countries – Alert – Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions – Travel Health Notices | Travelers’ Health | CDC.” CDC.Gov, Accessed 27 May 2022.

“Epidemiological Update: Monkeypox Multi-Country Outbreak.” European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 25 May 2022,

What to Know About Monkeypox Amid U.S. Cases. (2022). Retrieved 27 May 2022, from,mouth%20for%20an%20extended%20period.

“Monkeypox: An Unfamiliar Virus Spreading Fast — Sound Familiar? – Harvard Health”. Harvard Health, 2022,,than%20half%20a%20century%20ago. Accessed 27 May 2022.