EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – There is a growing concern about another health threat that has made its way to the United States.

There is suspected or confirmed cases in several states including Massachusetts, Florida, and more recently Washington state.

The monkeypox disease has spread to 18 countries with over 200 confirmed or suspected cases worldwide.
On May 17, the first case of monkeypox was discovered in the United States and now many people are left wondering if this is something that could become serious.

Dr. Mohammed Almanasif, infectious disease physician at Deaconess Midtown Hospital, says though it is not currently a major issue in the country, it is a cause for concern.

“A public health concern that we need to be worried about know how to deal with it so we don’t follow the same problems that we had with COVID,” Dr. Almanasif said. “The way that we have to deal with it like in the public is to first recognize the symptoms.”

Symptoms can include headache, fever and a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other body parts.

“I think we will be more aware of how we actually deal with the situation,” Dr. Almanasif said. “We have learned a lot from COVID over almost two years, underestimating anything can cause a lot of problems.”

The disease can be spread different ways that can infect others who are around the infected individual.

“Mortality rate is not high, the transmissibility is not,” Dr. Almanasif explained. “I would say it’s not as we know at this point it’s not as dangerous or as severe as COVID.”

The U.S. government is releasing monkeypox vaccines from the national stockpile but they will only be given to the small number of people that have been exposed.

“Close contact, prolonged face to face encounter being in the same closed room, even in an airplane cabin that can actually happen because its a closed environment,” Dr. Almanasif said. “Using personal stuff which can always happen between family members.”