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Is Monkeypox a Threat to Seniors?

While the monkeypox outbreak in the United States gives seniors a reason to be cautious, there’s no reason to panic says the CDC. Monkeypox may be a part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox but spread in the elderly community has been rare and past smallpox vaccination offers some protection if an infection occurs

Spread and symptoms

Monkeypox spreads primarily through close, intimate contact via respiratory droplets, bodily fluids, and direct contact with rash and scabs. The virus can also persist on objects and fabric like clothing, towels and bedding used by someone infected.


As the outbreak grows, it’s important for seniors to exhibit caution, especially those with comorbidities and weakened immune systems. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • A rash resembling pimples or blisters on the body and inside the mouth 

  • Cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion

  • Fever and headache

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Muscle aches

  • Chills

How to stay safe and healthy

To avoid getting sick, seniors can take the following preventative actions:


  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with those who have scabs or are known to be infected

  • Wash hands regularly 

  • Avoid objects and fabrics used by a person with monkeypox

  • Isolate if sick with monkeypox

  • Wear a mask

  • Practice safe sex


While contracting the monkeypox virus is low, the HHS Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends vaccination for those at high risk. Consult with your primary care doctor before getting a vaccine to see if any prior illness or allergies could react negatively to the shot. 


CenterWell Senior Primary Care has doctors and Care Teams at 16 Houston-area locationswho can help you. If you or someone you know is Medicare-eligible and searching for a senior-focused primary care doctor, CenterWell is all about giving our patients the time, attention and care they deserve. To find out more about CenterWell locations in your area, call 832-324-2489

or visit us at