Can you contract monkeypox in a public setting? Here’s what Georgia health officials say

ATLANTA — Georgia has confirmed more than 600 cases of monkeypox across the state as the global outbreak continues.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Health released guidelines on how the virus is spread in an effort to help people better protect themselves.

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Officials said testing and vaccination against the virus are available across the state, but that supplies remain limited.

“More than 90% of the people with monkeypox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox,” health officials said in a statement

While most cases have been in gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone with the illness can get sick.


Here are the ways you could contract monkeypox:

  • Through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids.
  • Through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact like kissing cuddling or sex
  • By touching items like clothing or linens that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids (uncommon)
  • Sharing towels or bedding with an infected person
  • Other forms of skin-to-skin contact

The GDPH said that the risk for contracting the illness through passing encounters with money or a door handle is low. Non-healthcare settings like schools, grocery stores, workplaces and public transportation are not considered high-risk settings for transmission.

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“Unlike COVID or measles, this means there is far lower risk to persons that may be in a room with someone with monkeypox, but who do not have contact with the infected individual,” officials said.

The release comes a day after MARTA announced that they evacuated a train and disinfected it after a passenger was overheard saying he or she might have the virus. That person was later determined to be suffering from an allergic reaction, not monkeypox.