Believe in a Healthy Newark is a Culture of Health Initiative aimed at addressing social determinants of health in order to improve health outcomes for the residents of the South and West Wards of Newark.


Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus that can affect anyone.. The virus is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, however, monkeypox symptoms are milder and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs primarily in Central and West African countries. Historically, monkeypox cases have rarely occurred in the U.S. and had mostly been related to international travel or importation of animals. There is a recent significant increase in reported cases where monkeypox is not commonly seen, including in Europe, Canada, the United States and New Jersey. While it’s good to stay alert about any emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public is very low.  At this time in the United States, Monkeypox (MPX) primarily infecting gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men.

Monkeypox spreads in a few ways:

  • Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
    • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
    • Contact with respiratory secretions.
  • Direct contact often occurs during intimate contact, including:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of a person with monkeypox.
    • Hugging, massage, and kissing.
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
    • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Symptoms typically appear within a week or two after infection. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms appear until the rash has healed and a fresh layer of skin is formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
    • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
    • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.


You may experience all or some of the symptoms, however most people will develop a rash.

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

Vaccines are available to individuals who have been exposed or are at high risk of having been exposed to the virus. Anyone with a known exposure within the past 14 days, should contact their health provider or local health department for testing and vaccine information.  (NJ Dept of Health) 


For more information please visit the CDC website at:


By Mariam Ouedraogo

Presented at Day 1 of our 4th Annual Believe in a Healthy Newark Building a Culture of Health Conference, Promoting Health, Healing and Sustainable Recovery

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The mission of our coalition has been expanded because of the enormous challenge we all face as we seek to successfully address the COVID 19 pandemic. Our additional new mission is to do our part in helping the Greater Newark community remain healthy during this crisis.

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