ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State is taking extra steps to address the spread of MonkeyPox. The New York State Department of Health declared the virus an imminent threat last week and Governor Kathy Hochul declared a State Disaster Emergency over the outbreak Friday evening.

The majority of cases are found in New York City. Here in Upstate New York cases were found in Albany, Columbia and Greene counties. Infections are primarily seen in LGBTQ+ men but the disease can infect anyone and stay on surfaces touched by people with present sores or rashes.

The Governor released this statement with the declaration saying: “It’s especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups.”

As Monkeypox continues to spread, Dr. Alan Sanders, Chief of Infectious Disease Division from Albany Medical Center, said the best thing to do is monitor for symptoms and keep track of who you interact with.

“People can transmit it person to person through these skin lesions more commonly than any other way. There is concern about droplet spread in the air, hanging around people for a long period of time not the short period of time that COVID would be spreading or the flu,” Sanders said.

Dr. Sanders said the response to the virus is more swift than COVID-19 because of the previously existing smallpox vaccine and similarities between the two viruses. Monkeypox vaccines are available in Saratoga County, Albany Medical Center and with the new state declaration will soon be available at more locations.

“The risk groups are the ones who are getting the vaccination right now, it’s not for the general population, there’s no need for that,” Sanders said. “It’s a two step vaccination, so you need it two times, it’s not like a booster — you need it two times for a complete series.”

Dr. Sanders said he expects the outbreaks to happen on a much smaller scale compared to COVID-19 and this is something infectious disease experts regularly prepare for.

“We study the transmission but just the tenants of good infection prevention practices and awareness and education and not hyperbole about it, not misinformation, is the best way to control it.”