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No, a monkeypox rash is not always outside the body

Many circulating photos of rashes from monkeypox infections show bumps and blisters on hands, legs, and faces. Doctors say that's not always where the rash emerges.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina's monkeypox cases top 120, according to the state dashboard tracking the virus's spread.

In an effort to curb more cases, health officials have advised people be aware of monkeypox symptoms, which include flu-like ailments, like fever, cough chills, and body aches, but also a blistery rash.

Many of the photos health agencies have shared show this rash on hands, legs, faces, and other visible portions of the body.

But does the rash always present that way?


Does a monkeypox rash always happen outside of the body?




This is false.

No, a monkeypox rash is not always outside the body. Doctors say knowing that might help some people detect infections sooner.


"You don't need to have skin-surface blisters," Wolfe said. "That's actually a big part of clinician education, is that it's not just the skin lesions."

Wolfe said sometimes the rash appears on the mucous membranes -- or the moist, inner linings of some organs and body cavities.

"They can be in the mouth," Wolfe said. "They can be inside the rectum, for example. They can be in the vaginal canal."

In fact, an early CDC analysis of monkeypox cases in the U.S. found the rash was most frequently reported on the genitals, with 46% of people experiencing that.

Other common places for the rash were arms (reported in 40% of cases), the face (38% of cases), and legs (37% of cases).

Wolfe said health care providers should be attuned to other red flags that might indicate hidden blisters.

"Rectal pain, pain on defecation is a common way of finding this," Wolfe said. 

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

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