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The World Health Organization confirmed 257 worldwide cases of monkeypox last week.

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles, left, and spherical immature particles, right.
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner
/
CDC via AP
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles, left, and spherical immature particles, right.

West Michigan health officials say they're keeping a close eye on the disease.

The World Health Organization confirmed 257 worldwide cases of monkeypox last week.

According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox is a “moderate” risk to public health.

It’s transmitted through direct contact with infected people’s lesions, body fluids, and contaminated materials. Symptoms begin with a fever, aches, and exhaustion, and quickly lead to a distinct rash.

Dr. Russell Lampen is an infectious disease physician and the medical director for infection prevention with Spectrum Health.

“This outbreak certainly appears to be larger than what we’ve seen outside of Africa, and it appears to be spreading a bit more quickly, but I don’t see this becoming a major or widespread pandemic that’s occurring,” said Lampen.

While Michigan hasn’t confirmed any statewide cases of monkeypox, Lampen acknowledged that communities are more sensitive to news of disease as they continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

He says widespread sickness is unlikely, due to the nature of the disease, but health officials are prepared.

“I think it’s something we should be paying attention to but not overly worried about. We’ve known about this disease since the 1950’s and so we do have a vaccine that’s already available and we have treatment options that are already available if we were to see more extensive spread.”

As of May 31st, the CDC confirmed 18 cases of monkeypox throughout the US.

Health officials say that anyone who has direct contact with an infected person is at risk. Within this outbreak, no deaths have been reported.

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