Should You Worry About Monkeypox?

Even as most of us thought that life will be better after covid-19, it appears that another health crisis is in the making with rising cases of monkeypox. Total number of monkeypox cases are now more than 10,000, across 57 countries. Deaths have also been reported in some severe cases. As monkeypox seems to be spreading globally, just like Covid, it makes us wonder if it will impact us and who are more at risk of getting the infection. To understand if you should worry about monkeypox, here are some important things to know.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox virus belongs to the same family as smallpox. Technically, it is classified under orthopoxvirus genus of the poxviridae family. It is to note that monkeypox virus is not related to chickenpox virus.

What are symptoms of monkeypox?

Most common symptoms seen in monkeypox patients include headache, fever and muscle ache. Another common symptom is swollen lymph nodes. Monkeypox leads to rashes on the body, which appear like raised bumps on the skin. While visual inspection can be used to identify monkeypox, a laboratory test is needed to confirm the presence of monkeypox virus.

Does monkeypox spread through air?

With Covid in the background, many people believe that monkeypox may spread through air. However, this is not true. Monkeypox virus spreads largely through skin-to-skin contact and bodily fluids. In this particular outbreak, it has been found that monkeypox virus is spreading through male-to-male sexual encounters. People having skin-to-skin contact with such people can also be at risk.

Studies reveal the monkeypox can also be spread through infected animals such as dormice, squirrels and some species of monkeys. If infected animals scratch or bite, it is possible that you may get monkeypox. Using products coming from an infected animal or preparing and eating their meat can also lead to monkeypox infection.

Is there vaccine for monkeypox?

As of now, there are two vaccines for monkeypox that have been approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These are JYNNEOS (also referred to as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000. Alternatively, vaccines used for smallpox can also be administered in specific cases. Similarly, some of the existing antiviral drugs can also be used for the treatment of monkeypox.

Who is at risk of monkeypox?

People with compromised immune system and other related diseases are at most risk of monkeypox. Of course, there has to be skin-to-skin contact for the virus to spread. As long as you can avoid skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, you can stay safe.

Should you worry about monkeypox?

Most cases of monkeypox are mild and it will cure on its own without the need of any medication. However, in case of people with suppressed or weakened immune systems, antiviral medicines and other treatment may become necessary. People who are at risk should consider taking the vaccine for monkeypox.

Will monkeypox become a global pandemic?

Probably not. Unlike Covid virus that spreads through contact as well as in air, monkeypox virus spreads only through skin-to-skin contact. As such, monkeypox is unlikely to become a global epidemic. Also, medicines and treatment therapies are already available to treat monkeypox.

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