AUSTIN (KXAN) — There are now 42 monkeypox cases in Texas, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s what we know about the virus.

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox is spread most commonly through prolonged person-to-person contact. It mostly happens through direct contact with bodily fluids or with the scabs and wounds created by monkeypox, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The virus can also be spread through prolonged exposure to someone with the virus or with materials that have been made contact with an infected person.

DSHS said, “many of the monkeypox cases in the current outbreak have been among men who have sex with men, but anyone who has direct skin contact with or kisses someone who is infectious could contract the virus.”

Unlike COVID-19, which is easily spread from person-to-person, monkeypox is more commonly spread between people through prolonged or intimate touching, though it can be spread in less direct ways too.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

According to Austin Public Health, symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • Fever   
  • Headache   
  • Muscle aches and backache   
  • Swollen lymph nodes   
  • Chills   
  • Exhaustion   
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters

According to DSHS, the first five of those symptoms appear first and a rash develops shortly afterwards, typically starting on the face and then spreading to other body parts.

How long does monkeypox last?

DSHS said it normally takes one to two weeks from the time someone is infected to the time they show symptoms. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks, it said.

How to prevent monkeypox

There are several measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox:   

  • Minimize skin-to-skin contact, especially if a person has been exposed to the virus, showing a rash or skin sores.   
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with monkeypox.   
  • Practice good hand hygiene. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.   
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE), mask, gloves, eye protection and gowns when caring for people infected with monkeypox.