COVID might be here to stay but it is now sharing the limelight with an older disease, monkeypox.

Dr. Kent Hall, Chief Physician Officer of the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) talked this week about COVID and monkeypox, and says while he wasn't over concerned about the disease last week, "I am watching it more closely than I was," because of the spread throughout the world.

Initially the cases were related to travel, the majority being travel from Canada to the United States.

How Is Monkeypox Spread?

Regarding the issue of "men who have sex with men" (MSM) he says that it's most likely coincidental that the disease rate seems higher in gay males. It's likely because the initial spread seems to have precipitated from a gay Spanish sauna in Madrid.

Overall, monkeypox is spread through direct contact with the lesions themselves.  A person who is a male contracted it and then has. It is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease since intimate contact is not the primary way that it is transmitted.

He says that it can spread from clothing and other agents - called fomites - through contact with lesions.  If someone has an open cut or wound and the lesions or liquid from the lesions comes into contact with broken skin through clothing then it can be spread.

Dr. Hall says that we are early on and do not have a lot of cases.  "Even a few cases is a lot more than we usually have,"  It is not spreading like wildfire.

The majority of the cases are in Central Africa.


How are the numbers?

He said that across the state there is definitely a higher concentration in the Finger Lakes and Central New York - mainly in Syracuse.

Currently the MVHS has 24 patients.  He says that Central New York has recently been trending downward.

He recommends observing protocols for the booster shot for overseas travel   He recommends getting boosters and checking travel requirements well in advance of anticipated travel dates.

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