Monkeypox virusThe human monkeypox virus was first discovered in 1970 and there are presently 19 confirmed infections of monkeypox in Michigan; eight are in Oakland County. Right now, the risk to the general public is low. But it’s important for you and your family to be informed so we’ve created a concise guide to help you understand how the virus started, how it spreads, and how Lakes Urgent Care can help if you think you have symptoms.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is caused by infection from the monkeypox virus which comes from the Orthopoxvirus genus, according to the World Health Organization. The disease can be “transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus,” the WHO says on its website. According to a recent article in USA Today, there is absolutely no connection between COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine and the monkeypox virus.

The state has set up a robust site about monkeypox in Michigan, along with updated case counts by county:

What are the symptoms?

The Oakland County Health Department lists fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion as the primary symptoms. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after a fever, a rash (often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body) occurs. Lesions progress through several stages before falling off.

What should I do if I think I have it?

See a healthcare provider immediately if you have any of the symptoms associated with the monkeypox virus. At Lakes Urgent Care, we can perform a test to confirm if you have monkeypox. If you have it, avoid all contact with others until the virus has run its course. The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks, and a person is considered infectious from when symptoms begin until lesions have crusted, those crusts have separated, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath, according to the Oakland County Health Department.

Is a vaccine available to prevent or treat monkeypox in Michigan?

smallpox vaccine

If you have a confirmed case of monkeypox in Michigan, consult with your primary care physician immediately. Right now, there is not a treatment specifically for the monkeypox virus. However, since monkeypox is like the smallpox virus, the State of Michigan indicates that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox can be used to prevent and treat MPV infections.

States are receiving vaccine allocations from the Strategic National Stockpile in accordance with the number of MPV cases and the size of the underlying at-risk population.  Presently, Michigan has received a limited supply of the vaccine.

Michigan launches monkeypox website, Oakland County forming task force to address outbreak (Detroit Free Press)