The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released new guidance to prevent the spread of monkeypox.
It comes a day after the federal government declared a public health emergency.
According to the CDC, the outbreak is disproportionately affecting men who have sex with men, and persons with advanced HIV might be at increased risk for severe monkeypox.
It is not considered a traditional sexually transmitted disease because it primarily spreads through close contact with skin lesions, and data suggests skin to skin contact during sex is fueling the outbreak.
There are currently 7,101 reported cases of the virus in the U.S. New York, California and Illinois have already declared their own state emergencies, but Gov. Ron DeSantis says he will not declare a public health emergency for monkeypox in Florida.
“Any of these politicians out there who are trying to scare you about this. Do not listen to their nonsense,” DeSantis said this week during a news conference. “I am so sick of politicians -- and you saw this with COVID -- trying to sow fear into the population.”
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and former Gov. Charlie Crist –- who are Democrats running against DeSantis -- have both condemned the governor’s comments.
Dr. Mohammed Reza, an infectious disease specialist, explained that the virus can live on things like bed sheets.
“Anything that’s more porous, likely, you know, to survive and be there a bit longer. But this is something we also have to keep in mind: It’s something that can infect. You can have the rash on palms. So if you’re shaking someone’s hand, possibly, they may have the rash in their hands. So these are things just to be careful of,” he said.
Anyone who has had contact with someone with a monkeypox-like rash, or who has had contact with someone who has a probable or confirmed case of monkeypox, is at a high risk for infection.
But there are antivirals and vaccines that can help cure monkeypox once you are infected.
“It’s not something that’s aerosolized, not airborne, it’s not hanging out in the air,” Reza said. “It’s not something you can be in a room with somebody that’s in a closed environment and people in the room that are not actually contacting people can catch this virus. This requires skin to skin, touching of those bodily fluids to transmit this virus to other people.”
The CDC recommends avoiding close contact or shared objects with someone with monkeypox. You are supposed to quarantine if you have monkeypox. Frequent hand-washing is also recommended.