The senior epidemiologist at the Waco McLennan County Public Health district says the risk to the general public is relatively low, so there’s no need to be on high alert, but you do need to be aware.
Monkeypox isn’t declared as a pandemic, a global health emergency or a disaster. But, it’s important to be aware of how it spreads.
“The way Monkeypox spread is through skin to skin contact with the lesions or scabs,” Senior Epidemiologist Vaidehi Shah said.
From the data so far, there is no asymptomatic spread. If you have Monkeypox, you will have the bumps or lesions, and you will know.
At this point, Shah says she doesn’t think there would be ever be a need for a lockdown.
“There’s an almost 0% chance of us getting into a lockdown because of Monkeypox,” Shah said.
The health district is conducting a contact investigation and will follow protocols for any identified contacts such as considering a vaccine.
Shah’s best piece of advice to avoid any disease is wash your hands. Specifically for monkey pox, keep your distance from someone with a rash.
“If you know somebody has a rash or somebody has a lesion, keep your distance,” Shah said. “Don’t have that skin to skin contact which could include hugging, kissing, cuddling, having sex with that person.”
That also includes any items that person has used like bedding, clothes or utensils.
It can also be passed from animals to humans.
“If you come in contact with wildlife, exotic animals, something that’s sick and does not seem right, don’t go close to them.”
Shah pointed out Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease.
“The majority of our cases are in the population where males have sex with males,” Shah said. “But that is not the only mode of transmission. In fact, we still don’t have enough data to say if the virus is present in the vaginal fluid or the semen.”
If you do get an unexplained rash, Shah encourages people to tell their doctor the situation before going in to see them, so they can be prepared.