There have been 13 documented cases Monkeypox in Massachusetts, and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has provided guidance to prevent the spread of it.
BPHC's guidance comes amid a global outbreak that has accounted for more than 2,000 cases in countries that don’t normally see cases, and in the U.S. there have been confirmed in 25 states.
Monkeypox is spread from person to person through close physical contact, and anyone who has close physical contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. Many of the current cases appear to be spreading through close contact in sexual and social networks among men who have sex with men, but the risk of monkeypox is not limited to people who are sexually active or men who have sex with men, according to a press release. Anyone can get monkeypox.
BPHC’s priority is to advocate a non-stigmatizing public health response, to raise awareness about monkeypox to help people recognize the symptoms early on so they can isolate and seek care.
“Monkeypox infection remains rare. As we anticipate an increase in cases, the Boston Public Health Commission is educating residents, supporting providers in identifying cases, and helping all people understand this disease,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the BPHC. “As an infectious disease doctor specializing in HIV, I’ve seen how stigma can undermine public health responses. Anyone can contract monkeypox. Therefore, it's important that everyone knows the symptoms and that no one is deterred from seeking care because of stigma.”
The most common symptom of monkeypox is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash often appears 1-3 days (sometimes longer) after other flu-like symptoms including, fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and general feeling of discomfort and exhaustion
A person with monkeypox is considered infectious from the beginning of symptoms. They can remain infectious until sores have crusted, scabbed over, fallen off, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath.
Monkeypox spreads through close, often skin-to-skin contact, such as:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs.
- Sexual contact of any kind or touching of the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.
- Hugging, massaging, or kissing.
- Talking closely through respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with monkeypox.
- Contact with objects such as clothing, bedding, sex toys, or towels.
- Contact with surfaces used by someone with monkeypox.
For more information on how to protect yourself and others from monkeypox and what to do if you think you may have monkeypox, visit BPHC’s website and the CDC’s factsheet on Social Gatherings, Safer Sex, and Monkeypox.