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Infectious disease expert explains how easily monkeypox can spread

An infectious disease expert says the virus most commonly spreads through skin-to-skin contact.

SAN DIEGO — How does monkeypox spread?

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert, says monkeypox most commonly spreads through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has rashes or lesions.

Does monkeypox spread easily at a festival?

"What started this was more likely raves like these were gay and bisexual men being together really close with lots of sexual contact in Spain and Belgium," Dr. Gandhi said.

Concerts, festivals and events where people are fully clothed are much safer, according to the CDC

"General festivals, I'm not worried about," Dr. Gandhi said.

This weekend a music festival, DAY.MVS XL, will be happening at Waterfront Park in San Diego. 

Dr. Gandhi says the chance of getting monkeypox at the festival is low.

Does monkeypox spread through trying on clothing or changing sheets of someone infected?

Health officials say the virus can spread by trying on clothing or changing sheets of someone who was infected, but Dr. Gandhi says the chances are much less likely.

"Sharing clothes, or a towel, or sharing surfaces we're all doing day-to-day, we would've had massive spread if it was spreading like this," Dr. Gandhi said.

California health officials have reported 98.3% of monkeypox cases are in men and the majority identify in the LGBTQ community.

"It's part of a public health that if it starts in a network it seems to be staying in that network," Dr. Gandhi said.

It's a theme seen with past outbreaks.

"The analogy I would use is just before COVID we had a mumps outbreak in San Diego among college students. That's the group it was circulating in. That was the subpopulation that socialized together," said Dr. Eric McDonald with San Diego County Health and Human Services.

The county is focusing its first vaccine doses on people at the highest risk.

"It's good public health to say it's in this population, gay men, let's get the resources to that population," Dr. Gandhi said.

San Diego County has received nearly 4,000 vaccines and given out nearly 2,500. They are hoping more vaccines will be arriving soon.

WATCH RELATED: Monkeypox declared public health emergency in San Diego County (August 2022)

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