Monkeypox cases are on the rise, leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that people seek medical care immediately if they develop a new, unexplained skin rash or lesion on any part of their body that they think could be monkeypox.

"While the monkeypox rash can be mistaken for chickenpox, shingles, or herpes, there are differences between these rashes," says board-certified dermatologist Esther E. Freeman, MD, PhD, FAAD, Director, Global Health Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Associate Director, Center for Global Health, Massachusetts General Hospital; and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology’s Monkeypox Task Force.

“During this particular outbreak, we’re seeing that the rash may start in the groin, genital region, or around the anus – and sometimes stay in the spot that it started instead of spreading," Dr. Freeman adds. “If you have a rash or bump on your skin and you don’t know what caused it, contact your board-certified dermatologist.”

Dermatologists can diagnose monkeypox by looking at the pattern on the skin and where the rash appears. If they suspect monkeypox is the cause, they will swab the rash and send it to a lab, where a polymerase chain reaction test will be performed.

I would be happy to connect you with Dr. Freeman, who can speak at length about the symptoms and treatment of this disease.

Additionally, here is a link to a letter published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD) that explains the symptoms and features of monkeypox. For more information about monkeypox, visit the AAD website.