Update: Monkeypox in New York State – May 2022

On May 20, 2022, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, announced the investigation of two suspected cases of monkeypox in New York State. Preliminary testing at NYCDOHMH's Public Health Lab ruled out one of the cases.

NYSDOH has alerted New York health care providers so they have information regarding reporting and case testing – which can be performed at the State Health Department's Wadsworth laboratory – should any of their patients present with symptoms consistent with monkeypox. Based on the limited information available at this time, the current risk to the general public appears low.

NYSDOH, in partnership with local and federal public health authorities, will continue to learn more from the suspected case to determine the likely mode of transmission and communicate openly with New Yorkers.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that does not usually cause serious illness, but can result in hospitalization or death. Monkeypox typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last two to four weeks.

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox can be spread from animals to humans and from humans to humans. People can be exposed to monkeypox through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.

The current outbreak appears to have spread through human-to-human contact. Based on previous outbreaks, the virus typically does not spread easily between people. Transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores, or through prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets. Because of this, transmission may also occur through sexual contact.

What should I do if I was exposed or have symptoms consistent with monkeypox?

Those who experience symptoms consistent with monkeypox, such as characteristic rashes or lesions, should contact their health care provider for a risk assessment. This includes anyone who traveled to countries where monkeypox cases have been reported or has had contact with a someone who has a similar rash or received a diagnosis of suspected or confirmed monkeypox.

National and International Outbreaks

Public health authorities are monitoring clusters of monkeypox in countries that do not normally report the disease, including in Europe and Canada. Health officials in Massachusetts confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the United States on May 18, 2022. For more information on monkeypox in the United States, visit CDC's page here.

Additional Resources