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DuBois, Pa., Aug. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Just as people’s fears about the many variants of the COVID-19 virus began to subside, a new virus – monkeypox – became the news and may worry some people. As the federal government declares the growing outbreak of monkeypox a national health emergency, Penn Highlands Infectious Disease physician Deepak Garg, MD, participated in a recent interview about the virus. Below are his comments.

Dr Garg: Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. Monkeypox is more benign than smallpox and is rarely fatal.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Dr. Garg: Symptoms of monkeypox are very similar to those of many other illnesses: fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and breathing problems such as sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough. However, the only big difference is that with monkeypox, a rash occurs. The rash is usually located near the genitals, but it can also be on the hands, feet, chest, or face. The rash may look like pimples or blisters and may be itchy or painful before the scabs form and heal.

Is monkeypox contagious?

Dr. Garg: Known forms of monkeypox transmission include: through personal contact such as skin-to-skin contact; coming into contact with bodily fluids or respiratory secretions of an infected person or touching clothing or linens that have been worn or used by someone infected with the virus.

Can a person get monkeypox from animals?

Dr. Garg: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the answer is yes. If someone is scratched or bitten by an animal carrying the virus, or if they prepare or eat the meat of an infected animal, they can contract the virus.

When is a person with the virus contagious?

Dr. Garg: A person can spread monkeypox from the time symptoms appear until the rash is completely healed.

How long is a person sick with monkeypox?

Dr. Garg: Monkeypox usually lasts two to four weeks.

How is monkey pox treated?

Dr. Garg: Although there is no specific treatment for monkeypox, vaccine and antiviral drugs used against smallpox are used successfully to treat monkeypox.

If someone was vaccinated against smallpox as a child, will they be protected against monkeypox?

Dr. Garg: The CDC and WHO have published data showing that the smallpox vaccine is 85% effective in preventing monkeypox infection. However, the effectiveness of the smallpox vaccine declines over time, so a childhood vaccination 50 years ago is not found to be as effective today.

How does someone protect themselves from monkeypox?

Dr. Garg: To avoid getting monkeypox, do not touch the skin of people with a rash and avoid close contact with them. Do not touch anything that a person with monkeypox might have used. Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

About Dr. Garg

Deepak Garg, MD, specializes in infectious diseases and wound care at Penn Highlands Healthcare. He is board certified in infectious diseases by the American Board of Internal Medicine and in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Garg completed his medical degree from Government Medical College, Patiala, Punjab, India. He completed his internship and residency at Interfaith Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine, New York, and fellowship in infectious diseases at the Department of Infectious Disease, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Garg is a member of the American Medical Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Michigan Infectious Diseases Society.

Dr. Garg’s office is located at 635 Maple Avenue, Entrance A, DuBois, PA 15801.


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