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What’s The Deal With Monkeypox?

As one viral outbreak comes to an end, another one begins. The latest virus to take the world by storm is Monkeypox – and people are still confused as to what exactly this new disease is.

Pavlova Yuliia/Shutterstock

As one viral outbreak comes to an end, another one begins. The latest virus to take the world by storm is Monkeypox – and people are still confused as to what exactly this new disease is.

Monkeypox is a viral infection and is extremely rare. The infection is not entirely new, and cases have been recorded since 1970, mainly in West Africa.

Recently, outbreaks have been occurring in Europe and the US, with the first recorded cases happening in late April. The virus has now reached 75 countries, causing some widespread concern.

Currently, the United States has the highest number of infected people, standing at 3,500 cases.

How Does it Spread?

Monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact. This can range from sexual contact to touching something that an infected person has touched.

In West Africa, the disease can be spread by being bitten by an infected animal. These are usually bats or rodents. It is also possible to become infected just by coming into contact with these animals.

The main difference between Covid-19 and Monkeypox is that Monkeypox is not as infectious. It can spread through skin-to-skin contact, but it is much harder to transmit casually than coronavirus. A person would generally need to be exposed to an open sore in order to become infected.

What Are The Symptoms?

The most distinctive thing about Monkeypox is its less-than-appealing physical symptoms. However, it usually begins with more minor signs, including flu-like symptoms, particularly headaches, nausea, and muscle aches.

Typically, after a few days of the flu-like symptoms, infected people develop a rash or lesions on the skin. These lesions begin on the face and hands but can spread across various areas, including the mouth, genitals, and lower back. The skin can become very irritated and painful due to this, and infected people should keep a close eye on the lesions to ensure they do not become infected.

A closer look at the virus. Credit: Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery, CDC/WikiMedia

Is Monkeypox an STI?

A common myth about Monkeypox is that the disease is a sexually transmitted one. While it is possible to transmit the virus sexually, like with many viruses, it is not an STI.

Should We Be Worried?

On Friday, the World Health Organization referred to the global outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern” in an eerily similar essence to the language used to describe Covid-19 in its initial stages.

Since late April, five mortalities have been recorded as a direct result of Monkeypox. The disease has a low mortality rate, and most people experience a full recovery.

The general public is not at high risk for the virus and does not need to take any special measures other than maintaining good hygiene and all of the sanitation practices we have acquired since the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are already two vaccines that are effective against Monkeypox, one being the same vaccine that treats Smallpox. The US distributed 300,000 doses of the vaccine in July, with millions more on the radar.

Written By

Digital Copywriter, Journalist, and Multimedia Content Executive.

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