(KTXL) — California currently has the second-most monkeypox cases in the country at seven, as of Tuesday, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The state of New York has the most cases at eight while the entire country has 35 probable or confirmed cases across 15 states.

Compared to COVID-19, health officials said the concern and risk of monkeypox to the general public are currently low.  

With the emergence of monkeypox and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, what is the difference between the two diseases, and how widespread are they? 

How does monkeypox spread compared to COVID? 

Health officials say monkeypox is less contagious and spreads slower than the coronavirus, as the latter can spread even if someone with the virus doesn’t have symptoms.  

According to the California Department of Public Health, the way it spreads is by very close and/or prolonged contact with someone with symptoms, including through: 

  • Close physical skin-to-skin contact
  • Large respiratory droplets spread by face-to-face interaction
  • Touching contaminated materials like bedding, towels, clothing, or other objects

What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox compared to COVID-19?

According to health officials, a fever, swollen lymph nodes, chills, low energy and a rash are symptoms of monkeypox. 

A fever is a similar symptom of COVID-19 while a cough, trouble breathing, stomach issues, headaches, muscle aches, and the loss of taste and smell are other signs of the virus, health officials said. 

Health officials say to avoid contact with infected animals and contaminated materials to help prevent contracting or spreading monkeypox. 

What to do if you think you have symptoms of monkeypox? 

If you’re sick with symptoms of either disease, health officials say stay home. For COVID-19, the steps are to take a test and isolate yourself from others immediately if you’re positive. The CDC says to isolate for at least five days regardless of vaccination status. 

If you think have symptoms of monkeypox, state health officials say to isolate yourself from others and contact a health provider right away. Your health care provider may recommend a vaccine for those who are exposed and can also provide care for people who have symptoms, health officials said. 

How serious is monkeypox and how long has it been around? 

Although health officials say the concern and risk of monkeypox are low, most cases are mild but can be severe and possibly lead to death. 

Monkeypox is not a new virus, as it was first identified in 1958 and it was typically found or linked to central and western African countries, health officials said. 

Although it’s not a new virus, over 1,000 cases were confirmed worldwide by the CDC since May 2022. 

COVID-19 is the more deadly virus. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the coronavirus has spread rapidly worldwide and mutated with different variants, infecting hundreds of millions of people. 

According to the CDC, the United States has 84,762,952 cases and 1,004,260 deaths as of Tuesday.