Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. It is also not related to COVID-19 and is much harder to transmit than COVID-19.
The current risk of getting monkeypox is very low for the general public, but it's still good for everyone to know the facts about the symptoms, prevention and what to do if you get sick.
Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. While not everyone needs a vaccine, vaccines and treatments are already available across the state. Most patients experience mild illness and require no treatment. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
Due to increasing cases of monkeypox in Allegheny county, Allies is now offering both monkeypox testing and monkeypox vaccination. If you come in contact with someone who may have or has monkeypox, or if you believe that you have symptoms that could be monkeypox, please contact our office to discuss testing options.
Allies currently is following the vaccine eligibility guidelines from the CDC and PA Department of Health to distribute the monkeypox vaccine.
The monkeypox vaccine is available for individuals who have experienced a high-risk exposure in the past 14 days to someone who was diagnosed with monkeypox or for individuals who experienced a high likelihood of exposure. The vaccine may prevent disease if given within four days of exposure to the virus. Vaccine eligibility will be expanded as more becomes available.
People who are currently prioritized to be vaccinated in Allegheny County (based on Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines) include:
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease and does not spread easily between people. However, anyone who has extremely close personal contact — mostly skin-to-skin — including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluid from a person with monkeypox, can get it and should take steps to protect themselves.
Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:
According to the CDC, symptoms of monkeypox can include:
You may experience all or only a few symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms or believe you have been exposed to monkeypox, please call Allies at 412-345-7456 to make an appointment with one of our medical providers.
Allies is working with partners at the city and county level to address monkeypox in Allegheny County. We also are following guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Information on this page courtesy of the Allegheny County Health Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.