The spread of monkeypox across the globe has been featured in the news and it’s not surprising that people are worried about the spread of this disease.
At present, more than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the 68 countries that haven’t previously reported cases of monkeypox which include those in the United States, Canada, Australia, and a number of countries located in Europe. It was reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus to be a world medical emergency on the 23rd of July.
The fact is that monkeypox will not be nearly as widespread, or as destructive as COVID-19, According to UNC Health infectious diseases specialist David Wohl, MD. “Monkeypox is different from COVID-19. It is much more difficult to get rid of and is less risky.”
As with COVID-19 the knowledge of monkeypox and how to avoid it is essential.
To answer any of your questions about monkeypox, continue reading.
1. Monkeypox: What exactly is it?
Monkeypox is a virulent disease that, in the majority of cases, results in skin lesions but can also cause more serious signs like headaches, high fevers eye infections, and lung infections.
Although it is a common name it isn’t spread by monkeys, but it was named in response to the outbreak that occurred in the laboratory of monkeys in the year 1958. Later, it was discovered that rodents living in areas of western and central Africa are carriers of the virus that is part of a similar family to smallpox.
The first instance of human monkeypox was discovered in the year 1970 and many cases of monkeypox were documented in western and central Africa.
The majority of cases from other regions of the world were related to travel to western or central Africa or animals that were imported from the region. The only other notable disease that occurred in the United States was in 2003 when 47 cases were discovered across Six Midwestern states. All 47 cases reported that they were in contact with prairie dogs. The prairie dogs were infected due to their proximity to rodents that were small and imported by West Africa.
2. How infectious is monkeypox?
The monkeypox virus can be less likely to be spread than viruses that cause COVID-19, or the flu.
“Unlike these diseases, this one isn’t transmitted by aerosols. Tiny particles can easily travel through the air. It requires more intimate contact, which is the type of intimate interaction that you wouldn’t have on the subway or airplane,” Dr. Wohl declares.
Monkeypox can be spread through contact with a lesion of an infected individual or through bedding or clothes that are contaminated. The monkeypox-like droplets that are released from the respiratory tract virus can only travel several feet, which means contact with people in a prolonged manner is essential to spread the virus.
In the current global epidemic intimate contact, specifically sexual contact is responsible for the majority of the infections.
3. What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox?
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but less severe than symptoms of smallpox. Skin lesions are the most common manifestation and may appear as a bump filled with fluid on the skin, or an ulcer that resembles the shape of a crater. These may be seen everywhere and including the genitals and may be a single or multiple on various areas of the body. Most often, they cause irritation or cause pain. The current outbreak has seen painful rectal lesions commonly described.
People with monkeypox might begin to experience headaches, fevers and muscle pains and fatigue, or swollen lymph nodes before they spot any lesion. Some people might not experience any of these and just have small skin lesions.
Monkeypox could look similar to other diseases like chickenpox or shingles. Dr. Wohl says.
“Most people who’ve suffered from chickenpox never have it the next time around,” he says. “They might develop shingles however, it’s usually in the skin of the opposite face of your body. Monkeypox-like lesions can be observed everywhere on the body, even on the soles or palms.”
Additionally, the lesions caused by monkeypox can be similar to those caused by herpes simplex or syphilis. The key factor is, that Dr. Wohl advises that you should consult your doctor if you see an unusual new bump on your skin or an ulcer, particularly in the event that you’re susceptible to getting infected with monkeypox.
“Not each bump is noticed by a person ought to prompt a visit to a doctor. Monkeypox does not look like your average pimple. If you spot an area of your face that seems strange, particularly if also experience fevers or swelling glands, and you may have come into contact with someone infected, then seek medical attention,” he says.
The typical duration of the illness is up to four weeks. The time between the time of infection and symptoms appear generally lasts between one and two weeks.
A test for the presence of monkeypox is available and is carried out using a swab of the skin.
4. What are the treatments for monkeypox?
Monkeypox is part of a similar family to smallpox which is why the medical profession already has diagnostic tests as well as vaccines for monkeypox Dr. Wohl states. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an inventory of treatments and vaccines against monkeypox. officials are working on distributing to states when needed.
The TPOXX (tecovirimat) is an antiviral drug that has been approved for the treatment of smallpox. It has been proven that it is effective in the treatment of monkeypox. Many people don’t require this medication, however, the majority of people with monkeypox completely recovered without treatment.
However, those with extremely sensitive lesions or painful ones around the mouth or in the eye may be able to benefit from treatment. Patients with weak immune systems, women who are pregnant, or who have a history of skin diseases like eczema, which can be aggravated by the virus monkeypox could also be candidates for TPOXX.
Children are more susceptible to getting sicker than adults should they contract monkeypox due to their immune systems aren’t as strong. TPOXX is an option for young children.
Prior to 1972, kids were regularly vaccinated against smallpox. This left recognizable circular scars across their arm. The doctor. Wohl says it’s unclear whether those who had been vaccinated in the past are protected completely from smallpox (or smaller pox).
5. Who are the most susceptible to contracting monkeypox by 2022?
Monkeypox can be contracted by anyone by coming into close proximity to lesions of the infected or bedding or clothing that is contaminated according to Dr. Wohl says. Most cases of the 2022 outbreak are in men who have had sexual relations with other males, the majority are between 25- 50.
“Right right now, we’re experiencing this infection spreading through networks of men who are having sex with males, but it’s a major health risk for all,” Dr. Wohl declares. “We should cooperate in order to prevent the spreading of the infection within the communities that are currently affected and prevent the possibility of other communities being affected in the future.”
6. How can I prevent getting monkeypox?
The monkeypox disease is currently spreading through sexual contact, those with multiple partners are at a higher chance of being infected.
Condoms may help decrease the chance of transmission through sexual contact, however, the virus is able to transfer from lesions that occur in other areas of the body.
“Reducing the number of sexual partners and determining whether your intimate partners suffer from any concerns with skin lesions could reduce the risk of getting monkeypox, particularly in the present in the case of men who are involved in sexual relations with men,” Dr. Wohl states. “It is vital to be aware that intimate contact doesn’t only mean sex. Since this virus can be found in lesions that are on the mouth or skin even cuddling and kissing can be dangerous. risk.”
It doesn’t mean that cuddling and kissing should be avoided entirely when you are with a new or casual partner according to him, considering that the incidences of monkeypox remain very low. However, people must be aware of the frequency of new infections within their region.
7. Do you have a vaccine that can protect against monkeypox?
A monkeypox vaccine known as JYNNEOS is available. It was created to combat smallpox but has now been proven to also offer protection against monkeypox.
People who are most susceptible to infections now include anyone who has come into proximity to someone suffering from monkeypox. Also, males who have sex with males or transgender people who in the last three months have experienced multiple or anonymous sex partners, who have had a sexually transmitted illness, or who are taking medication to avoid HIV are qualified to get the vaccine.
Health professionals who collect specimens to test and manage them in laboratories must also receive the vaccine.
It is believed that the JYNNEOS vaccine is offered at certain health departments as well as some medical clinics. The number of places that offer the vaccine will rise in the event of a shortage.
“We are lucky to be armed with the most reliable test, a safe treatment, and a regulated vaccine that can prevent monkeypox,” Dr. Wohl states. “It is these tools and individuals being aware of the best ways to safeguard them and their loved ones that can change the course of things.”