When a population is dealing with a new health threat, what we know, who is at risk and how to help folks stay safe can be a rapidly changing information landscape. To help clarify some of this uncertainty surrounding monkeypox in Michigan, CultureShift spoke with Dr. Shira Heisler, Medical Director for the Detroit Public Health STD Clinic.
While it is not technically a sexually transmitted disease – which is to say, not transmitted through fluids – it is sexually associated, spreading through close interpersonal contact and things like towels and linens. It doesn’t seem to be spreading through more public surfaces like doorknobs at this time.
“The most common thing I’m seeing is pustular lesions, they look like pimples. And they can go through all these different stages and they can ulcerate and then they can ultimately scab over.”
She says the condition has yet to be lethal, but lesions can be extremely uncomfortable when in sensitive locations of the body.
“People can’t even go to the bathroom, because it’s so painful or even eat because doing anything with that type of sort of movement is really painful.”
Fortunately, there is treatment available in Detroit for severe cases of monkeypox, and vaccine eligibility has expanded since July. As for the general public, she says the best way to protect yourself is to be mindful of your contact with others, try to avoid intimate and crowded gatherings like parties or bathhouses, and to get tested at your local clinic if you notice lesions anywhere on your body.
To find out if you’re eligible and to schedule your vaccine appointment today, call the Detroit monkeypox hotline at 313-577-9080.
Photo credit: Rick Bowmer/AP
Listen: Dr. Shira Heisler shares what we should and shouldn’t be worried about as monkeypox cases rise.