(WKBN) – As many states are seeing an uptick in Monkeypox cases, it’s raising many questions about the disease. Below is some basic information about it and how it can affect people.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s a part of the same family of the virus that causes smallpox. It was first discovered in 1958, and the first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970.

What are the monkeypox symptoms?

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.
    • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
    • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

It’s possible to experience all symptoms or no symptoms.

Monkeypox symptoms typically start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.

Is monkeypox contagious?

Monkeypox is contagious and can spread in several different ways.

  • Through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
    • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
    • Contact with respiratory secretions.
  • This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
    • Sexual intercourse with a person with monkeypox.
    • Hugging, massage and kissing.
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
    • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
  • From infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

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. In total, it typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

Is monkeypox curable?

There are currently no treatments specifically for monkeypox. However, antiviral drugs and vaccines that have been developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.

Some patients who are more likely to get severely ill can be given antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX).

How can I avoid getting monkeypox?

There are ways to prevent contracting monkeypox. Avoiding skin-to-skin contact and practicing safe sex can help prevent monkeypox. You should also avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used and wash your hands regularly.

The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox.