Mid-Michigan doctors talk Monkeypox spreading, symptoms

Mid-Michigan doctors are telling residents to stay alert, but not to panic about the fast-spreading Monkeypox virus.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 10:04 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - Mid-Michigan doctors are telling residents to stay alert, but not to panic about the fast-spreading Monkeypox virus.

The latest numbers show 28,220 probable or confirmed Monkeypox cases worldwide with 7,510 in the United States.

Michigan ranks 19th in the country with 71 cases.

Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, a Flint area doctor, said this is just the beginning.

“In Genesee County, my understanding is we don’t have any,” Dr. Mukkamala said. “I think it’s just a matter of days before we start to get some.”

Mukkamala said the primary way Monkeypox spreads is by prolonged skin to skin contact, such as sexual intercourse.

He also says it is a mistake to believe that is the only way it can be transmitted.

“There’s cases reported of people that are cleaning up hotel rooms after people leave and the hospitality industry is getting it just from being in contact with objects because the virus lives on objects for a long time,” Mukkamala said.

Infectious disease expert Nicholas Haddad of Central Michigan University said, even though the majority of reported cases involve gay men, the numbers could shift.

“That does not mean that it will stay in this population,” Haddad said. “There are already cases described in women and a couple of children have acquired it by breastfeeding from an infected breast, for example.”

Monkeypox is characterized by a rash typically on or near the genitals. The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

“If you’ve got blisters, don’t assume that it’s just acne or pimples or zits or some other sort of infection, assume that it’s monkeypox, get tested until it’s proven otherwise, and when people start looking at it that way, we’ll have less transmission and the numbers will go down,” Mukkamala said.

Unlike COVID-19, residents can get vaccinated after testing positive for Monkeypox. Getting vaccinated can reduce the severity of the symptoms which could last up to four weeks.