SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially kicks off Friday.

That means people from all over the country are flocking to Black Hills for the 82nd annual event.

Along with the fun and festivities that come from the large gathering of people, there’s something else that can arise.

“We know, from past experience, that Sturgis and gatherings like it have been associated with outbreaks of infections as I said from sexually transmitted infections to COVID,” Sanford infectious disease physician Dr. Susan Hoover said.

Now Hoover is warning of the possibility of another illness: monkeypox.

The main symptom to look for is a rash, although it can be subtle.

It’s most commonly spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person

“Simply visiting Sturgis, walking around, meeting people, contacts where you’re maybe in a group of people but clothes on, no close contact, is probably not very high risk. But situations where you might be touching, bumping up against, having sex with people, is very high risk,” Hoover said.

Hoover is calling on people to be mindful of who they’re having close contact with.

“We want to protect our community, protect the health of ourselves and others,” Hoover said.

The CDC says monkeypox is rarely fatal.

If you think you could have it, Hoover says call your doctor.

KELOLAND News also asked the Sioux Falls Public Health Director to weigh in on monkeypox.

“I wouldn’t say people shouldn’t participate in any live events or any outdoor activity because of monkeypox, it would just be to have that heightened sense of awareness and just be cautious knowing that this is a disease that requires person-to-person contact,” Sioux Falls public health director Dr. Charles Chima said.

You can read more from Dr. Chima on how the public should respond to the virus in a Original by Rae Yost.