What is monkeypox, and how can you stay safe as it spreads?

Here are monkeypox, which causes pimple or blister-like lesson and flu-like symptoms.  

As a global outbreak of monkeypox continues to grow, public health officials are stressing the importance of education in fighting the virus.

"I am concerned by the scale and spread of the virus," World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday

.Monkeypox is a poxvirus, related to smallpox and cowpox. It generally causes pimple- or blister-like lesions and flu-like symptoms such as fever, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The lesions typically concentrate on the arms and legs, but in the latest outbreak, they're showing up more frequently on the genital and perianal area,

which has raised some concerns that monkeypox lesions may be confused with STDs.

The rash is "showing up in different parts of the body than we typically expect to see it," Dr. John Brooks, the CDC's chief medical officer of HIV prevention, said in late May.

He and other experts have been emphasizing that fact "to remind people that people may come in for an evaluation of what they think is an STD,

but we'd like the provider to think 'Could it be monkeypox as well?' if the circumstances fit the story," he said.

Monkeypox spreads through close contact, according to the CDC. That includes direct physical contact with lesions as well as "respiratory secretions" shared through face-to-face interaction

, and touching objects that have been contaminated by monkeypox lesions or fluids. The virus may also pass to a fetus through the placenta.

"Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection in the typical sense, but it can be transmitted during sexual and intimate contact, as well as with personal contact and shared bedding and clothing," Brooks said.

The CDC says it's not clear whether monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids, but the virus can't spread asymptomatically.

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