The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has alerted gay and bisexual men that monkeypox appears to be spreading in the community worldwide.
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be transmitted through sexual and intimate contact as well as through shared bedding, according to CNBC. The virus spreads through contact with body fluids and sores, according to Dr. John Brooks, a CDC official.
Symptoms for monkeypox are similar to the flu, including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. It then progresses into body rashes. Patients are considered most infectious when they have a rash.
“Anyone with a rash or lesion around or involving their genitals, their anus, or any other place that they have not seen it before, should be fully evaluated, both for that rash but particularly for sexually transmitted infection and other illnesses that can cause rash,” Brooks told CNBC.
Dr. Brooks says that, while anyone can contract monkeypox through close personal contact, many of the people who are being affected by it are gay and bisexual men.
The World Health Organization has identified about 200 confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases across at least a dozen countries in Europe and North America.
The smallpox vaccine appears to be about 85 percent effective at preventing monkeypox, according to the CDC. The U.S. also has more than 1,000 available doses of a vaccine called Jynneos for people 18 and older who are at high risk of monkeypox or smallpox.