LGBT Center of Reading spreading the word about monkeypox

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Aug. 6—The LGBT Center of Reading is stepping up to provide information about the growing threat of monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a viral infection that can cause fever, headaches, muscle aches, backaches, chills, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and, most notable, a rash that can turn into lesions.

It is spread through direct, prolonged contact with bodily fluids or sores.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that can include through respiratory secretions during prolonged, intimate contact between individuals, such as sexual intercourse, kissing or cuddling.

The disease was first discovered in colonies of monkeys in 1958, and the first human case was recorded in 1970. Since then, small outbreaks have occurred in different parts of the word, including 47 cases in the U.S. in 2003.

The current outbreak of monkeypox began earlier this year, and the U.S. has recently become its epicenter. As of Friday, the U.S. had reported far and away the most cases of any country in the world at 7,101. Spain was second with 4,577.

On Thursday, the Biden Administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

While monkeypox can infect anyone, the 2022 outbreak has so far spread primarily between men who have sex with men. That is why many LGBT groups across the U.S. — including the LGBT Center of Reading — are sounding the alarm about the disease.

The LGBT Center of Reading is doing so by creating an informational page on its website. The page includes vital information from the state Department of Health and links to more information from the CDC and other sources.

The page can be found at lgbtcenterofreading.com/about-1-1.

The center has announced that it is also in the process of hosting an educational webinar with medical experts on the topic of monkeypox. Information about the session will be posted on the center's website at lgbtcenterofreading.com.