Skip to main content

Monkeypox. You've probably heard about it by now, but what is it and is it a threat that you need to worry about? 

"It's in the same family as smallpox but it should not be confused with it in terms of level of alarm. With smallpox, 10-30% of people can die," said Dr. Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, in a recent podcast.

"With the particular strain of monkeypox that is circulating right now, that death rate in Africa is 1% or less. It causes symptoms that look very much if not identical to smallpox, with one exception. With monkeypox you get lymph node swelling, and you don't get that with smallpox."

Symptoms typically begin with flu-like symptoms before the patient develops a rash, possibly beginning on the face and spreading to other parts of the body. More on how the disease can evolve, according to the Mayo Clinic: 

"Monkeypox is a rare infection that begins with flu-like symptoms followed by a distinctive rash. The rash initially consists of flat patches, then progresses to raised nodules and then to vesicles, with one or two days in each phase. The final stage of pus-filled blisters can last five to seven days."

Most people recover within 2-4 weeks without treatment, though there are two different vaccines that can benefit people infected by monkeypox, and the U.S. has a large stock of them that can be deployed to limit spread.

In an announcement Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it's "likely" that there will be more cases of monkeypox in the U.S., but only a handful of cases have been confirmed so far, none of which are in Minnesota. 

Most global cases are associated with people who identify as gay and bisexual men, the CDC said. But what the CDC is investigating is the oddity of the virus spreading to different countries, as many of those recently testing positive for monkeypox have not reported travel to Africa, which is abnormal.  

It's possible that contributing to this is waning immunity to viruses linked to smallpox, which was eradicated 45 years ago thanks to a global vaccination effort.

"I think, like many of you, we have a strong scientific concern that monkeypox is a little different spreading this way than we've seen before," said Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC's highly pathogenic department. "Right now, the case count is low, so I don't think that there is a great risk to the general community for monkeypox in the United States."

Typically, monkeypox is spread by skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an active rash, or through respiratory droplets coming from an infected person who has lesions in their mouth. 

That is different from COVID-19, which can spread through much smaller airborne particles known as aerosols. The transmissibility of monkeypox is much lower than it is with COVID.

"It's not a situation where if you're passing someone in the grocery store you're going to be at risk for monkeypox," said McQuiston. 

It's for this reason U.S. health officials are talking only about localized vaccinations to people who have been exposed to those with the virus, such as healthcare workers, rather than mass vaccinations.

Next Up

290376311_5009722282489162_198055240351933487_n

30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota state colleges boosting tuition again by 3.5%

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.

Screen Shot 2022-06-23 at 2.21.45 PM

92-year-old driver killed in rural Scott County crash

The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Related

Fauci

Dr. Fauci to deliver keynote speech for Mayo Clinic on September 11

Fauci has been the face of America's fight against the coronavirus.

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 8.35.22 AM

Mayo Clinic launches COVID-19 tracking, modeling tool

The tool will help Minnesotans better understand current trends in their county of residence.

Minnesota-Canada border

CDC: Do not travel to Canada, even if you are vaccinated

The CDC has issued its highest travel alert level for Canada.

covid

Mayo Clinic specialist: 'The omicron surge is not over'

Experts expect a rapid decline over the next month followed a period of calm.

Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic announces return of furloughed workers, pay levels

The Rochester institution made cuts in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mayo clinic

Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic set to roll out antibody test next week

But it will be a while before the test is broadly available.

Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 11.58.58 AM

Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic develops its own COVID-19 test

The U.S. has tested significantly fewer people for coronavirus compared to some other nations.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.