EASTERN IDAHO (KIFI) - The first reported case of monkeypox has been recorded in Eastern Idaho. While the disease isn't unheard of, there is still some mysteriousness surrounding the disease. Associate Professor of Public Health Dr. Ryan Lindsay shares what are the main things the public needs to know regarding the new disease.
The main concern currently is monkeypox is starting to spread in new ways.
"Monkeypox is is new to our area. And usually when we've had a case in the United States of monkeypox, it's been directly related to travel. But right now, what the concern is, is that we're having people showing symptoms and being diagnosed with monkeypox that have not traveled. So we're seeing person to person spread. And that's certainly a concern," Dr. Lindsay said.
Dr. Lindsay says while there are similarities to chicken pox in how the newer monkeypox presents, there is one major difference.
"There are similarities in that. The presentation of monkeypox usually comes with a rash, and that risk can vary in severity. It's not rash look a little different than chickenpox. Chicken pox and can be kind of more directly found in certain areas of the body, including the genital region. But that that rest, though, it looks a little bit different. It it it's very different in terms of a different disease."
Dr. Lindsay says similar to chicken pox, monkeypox, is transferred, through physical touch.
"He main ways that monkeypox is being spread is, is through direct skin to skin contact. So there's it can spread through cuddling, hugging, kissing, certainly through sexual contact. But it can also be spread through through clothing or bedding that that's been in contact with with somebody symptomatic with monkeypox."
Dr. Lindsay says while there is still much unknown about the disease, a careful eye on personal hygiene seems to be effective in protecting people from contracting the disease.
"One thing that's important to remember and that makes it more important to make sure that we are washing hands. And and if we're in a place where there would be shared clothing or bedding or shared utensils, that sort of thing, we want to take precautions to wash those."
He says while the disease can be contracted through sexual contact and those who have many sexual partners have a higher risk there is a key difference in how the disease differs from those classified as an STI/STD.
"Not considered because of the different ways it can be transmitted. It wouldn't be exclusively through sexual contact like those does, is that we typically would term a sexually transmitted infection. So for that reason, even though we've seen a lot of cases spread that way, again, we can't classify it just as that because of just extreme close contact," Dr. Lindsay said. "The cuddling, kissing, hugging, those sorts of measures wouldn't necessarily, you know, those broad and the risk factors and across society. So it wouldn't be just just this way. We can't all just think that this is an outbreak that we don't need to worry about because, you know, because we don't have sexual partners, we just have one sexual partner."
He says there is still a lot that is unknown with the disease so as we learn more about it keep an eye out for what our local health experts say.
He says the symptoms related to monkeypox share some similarities with COVID-19 with some key differences namely, rashes and blisters.