(WHTM) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 21 cases of monkeypox in the U.S., with Pennsylvania reporting its first probable case June 2 in Philadelphia.

However, one Midstate doctor said this is not the time to panic. He said monkeypox is not COVID-19 all over again.

“We have the tools to fight it and I think we’ll be okay,” Dr. Joseph Kontra, chief of infectious diseases at Lancaster General Health, said.

With nearly two dozen cases confirmed in the U.S. and more cases around the world, Kontra said monkeypox will likely continue to spread.

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“Monkeypox is not a new disease, although this outbreak is new,” he said. “We will very likely see patches of cases popping up around the country.”

However, Kontra said he is not worried.

“This is certainly not something to panic about,” he said.

Kontra said monkeypox is very similar to smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.

“It is a pox disease meaning it produces these pustules on the skin surface as its main calling card, if you will,” he said.

However, it is much less deadly.

“Hospitalizations for monkeypox would be unusual,” Kontra said. He said people who are immunocompromised, pregnant women and nursing mothers could be at higher risk, but most people would not become severely ill.

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abc27 asked Kontra if the U.S. could we be headed out of one pandemic into another. He said that is unlikely because COVID-19 is a much more contagious disease.

“Monkeypox is mainly transmitted by very close physical contact,” he said.

Kontra said it is possible for monkeypox to be transmitted through respiratory droplets like COVID-19, but infection will not happen nearly as fast.

“You have to be within six feet for over three hours to really be likely to transmit the disease, very different from COVID-19,” he said.

With this new outbreak, Kontra said the country is in a very different place than when COVID hit in the spring of 20-20 because the healthcare system is already equipped to fight monkeypox.

“We have antivirals and vaccines and antibody treatments,” he said. “It is really not expected that it will cause a worldwide pandemic the way COVID-19 did.”

While monkeypox is a less dangerous disease, the CDC is still telling people with symptoms like the telltale rash to talk to their health care provider. This helps officials contact trace and make sure anyone exposed can quarantine for the necessary 21 days.

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