BRONX, New York (WABC) -- A town hall was held in the Bronx Monday night to answer questions from nervous New Yorkers about the monkeypox outbreak.
More than 11,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported in the country, with 2,000 of those cases reported in New York City, making the Big Apple the epicenter of the disease.
In an effort to ease anxieties, health officials and community groups took questions from concerned residents.
"I knew nothing about it. I wanted to get information and that's why I came tonight," Bronx resident Kim Statuto said. "It lets me know right now, I'm not likely to get it."
New Yorkers sought answers to questions like: who is the most risk, is the disease fatal, and can you get it while riding on the subway?
While the disease is rarely fatal, the scabs can be painful and last several weeks. However, most patients should recover.
As far as who is most at risk, the disease has mainly affected men who have sex with men.
"Sexual transmission is the biggest driver," said Dr. Madhury Ray of the New York City Department of Health. "We're really thinking about very close prolonged skin to skin contact."
"Right now, we're taking measures in order to keep people protected that are most at risk," said Sage Rivera of the LGBTQ group Destination Tomorrow.
Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 in a lab monkey, but Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang was told the virus is actually carried by rodents.
Doctors say that what we're seeing now is a new form of an old disease and they are worried about the global spread.
There is a vaccine, but supply and distribution have been a problem.
Experts are encouraging those most at risk to get the shot.
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