Monkeypox is a rare virally transmitted disease that is part of the variola virus family, the same virus family as smallpox. There are types of the virus: West African and Congo Basin. The current virus present in the United States is of the west African type. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and cases are on the rise in Washington, D.C.
How Does Monkeypox Spread?
The virus spreads through direct contact with body fluids, sores or scabs of an infected person. It can also spread through the handling of materials, such as clothes, bed sheets or towels that have touched the body fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox. Monkeypox spreads through intimate contact during sex, kissing, intimate touching or even cuddling. Prolonged, face-to-face contact between people can also spread the disease, but is a more uncommon cause of transmission.