CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry health officials are providing the latest on the monkeypox outbreak now that it has been deemed a public health emergency.

“Monkeypox,” Roper St. Francis Dr. Toby Fugate said, “it’s transmitted by close intimate contact, and the CDC actually has a firm definition of what that means. It means that you’re within six feet of a person for greater than three hours.”

Fugate says anyone can contract monkeypox, but he’s seen the disease spread within a certain group recently.

“In this particular outbreak,” he said, “it seems that it’s spreading amongst gay and bisexual men. But I want to be clear, that anyone could get this.”

He says the current outbreak has been mainly transmitted through sexual contact, however, he says it is not a sexually transmitted disease. The doctor says those who have contracted the disease have all experienced similar symptoms.

“People would have like fevers,” Fugate said, “chills, muscle aches and then eventually they would break out with a rash.”

The rash begins as a little red spot and continues to grow.

“Gradually,” Fugate said, “the bump would become a vesicle, which looks, essentially, like a chickenpoc, a little vesicle. Ultimately, that vesicle becomes filled with puss, it’s called a pustule.”

Dr. Fugate says most people diagnosed with monkeypox won’t require the tecovirimat treatment since the rash goes away on its own, but there are exceptions.

“If the person has extensive lesions,” he said, “or maybe the lesions are in very sensitive places, like for example maybe the lesions are in the persons mouth. Another reason a person might need treatment is if they’re expected to do poorly. For example, if you had an immunocompromised person, if you had a person who is maybe undergoing chemotherapy, or you have a person with really advanced AIDS. Those people would probably go on treatment, maybe with just one or two lesions.”

There have been 23 cases of monkeypox reported in South Carolina, and seven of those cases have been in the Lowcountry.