What we know about monkeypox

What is happening

Cases of monkeypox are increasing in the United States, which increases the global prevalence of monkeypox in countries that do not usually report the disease (where the disease is not endemic).

why does it matter

While no deaths have been reported in the United States, the control of monkeypox is important to public health. Some people with monkeypox may have small rashes or blemishes that they mistake for something else.

What does that mean to you

Anyone can get monkeypox, but gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected in the current outbreak. If you develop or think you may have an unexplained rash or skin blemish, seek medical attention.

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the orthopoxvirus, and the virus that causes it belongs to the same family of viruses that cause smallpox and cowpox. As of Thursday, there were 156 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States, the CDC map shows, with California, New York, Illinois and Florida reporting the most cases.

Monkeypox is an endemic disease in West and Central Africa. Reports of him are rare in the United States but unheard of. (Two cases were reported last year, and 47 in 2003 in an outbreak associated with pet prairie dogs.)

In a health alert to medical providers last week about the spread of monkeypox in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that some cases of monkeypox may not be tested for, and that monkeypox rashes can be mistaken for (or in addition to) other types of infection. Other common, such as herpes.

The Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walinsky, had previously said that the current monkeypox infection is causing people to develop blemishes more like a pimple or blister rather than the more classic diffuse rash, NBC reported. While the overall threat to the public remains low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, it is important for individuals and health care providers to detect symptoms early to contain the monkeypox outbreak that is occurring in many countries.

Amish Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said. He added that monkeypox is not new, and we already have some tools to stop its spread, including smallpox vaccines.

Examples of monkeypox disease or rash.

NHS England High Scores Infectious Diseases Network

What is monkeypox? How severe is it?

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, which means that it is transmitted from animals to humans. It is caused by orthopoxviruses from the same family as the virus that causes smallpox, although smallpox is considered clinically more serious than monkeypox.

There are two or more types of monkeypox virus, according to the World Health Organization: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade. The West African strain, which was identified in the last cases, according to the May 26 presentation by the World Health Organization, has a mortality rate of less than 1%. The death rate in the Congo Basin or Central African region is up to 10% higher, according to the World Health Organization.

Monkeypox has caused 72 deaths this year in endemic countries, according to the World Health Organization, but no deaths have been reported in the current outbreak in non-endemic countries, including the United States.

Monkeypox was first discovered in the 1950s in colonies of monkeys under investigation, according to the CDC, but it has also been found in squirrels, mice, and other animals. The first human case of infection was discovered in 1970.

How do you get monkeypox? Does it compare to COVID?

Monkeypox spreads between people primarily through contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but can also be spread through prolonged, face-to-face contact via respiratory droplets or by touching contaminated clothing or bedding. Experts are currently investigating whether monkeypox can be spread through semen or vaginal fluid.

Anyone can get monkeypox, but many cases in the United States recently have been in men who had sex with men, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Close contact between you and your sexual partner may expose you to monkeypox, and the current outbreak is linked to social networking or sexual activity within some communities.

Dr. Hans Henry B. , noting that those who sought health care services early should commend them.

Close “close” contact is an essential component of monkeypox transmission. This, along with the fact that the virus that causes monkeypox appears to have a slower reproduction rate than the COVID-19 virus, sets it apart from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in June at a media conference.

While scientists are still learning about monkeypox in new outbreaks, and some experts support the idea that it isn’t airborne, “it doesn’t act like influenza or COVID or chickenpox or measles — things that spread quickly in an unvaccinated community,” Inglesby said. Much like a disease that requires close contact.”

“It’s not a situation where if you pass someone in a grocery store, they are at risk of getting monkeypox,” Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of Pathogenesis and Pathology, said at the May briefing. With the Center for Disease Control.

Since many of the recent cases of monkeypox in Europe have resulted in lesions in the genital area and are similar to symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, you should ask to be evaluated if you have an unexplained rash in the genital area, Dr. John Brooks said, An epidemiologist in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, at a May CDC briefing.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox disease?

Symptoms of monkeypox in humans are similar to (but milder than) smallpox, which was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1980.

Monkeypox infection usually begins with flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, severe headache, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Within one to three days of developing a fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a rash or sores develop and can be located anywhere on the body, including the hands, genitals, face, chest, and inside the mouth. But wherever they appear, the rash or monkeypox lesions can be flat or raised, filled with clear or yellowish fluid, and will eventually dry out and fall off.

Monkeypox can spread until the sores have healed and a new layer of skin forms, according to the CDC. The illness usually lasts for two to four weeks. The incubation period ranges from five to 21 days, according to the CDC.

Notably, some people never experience flu-like symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, and you may experience all or only a few of the typical monkeypox symptoms. For safer sex and social gatherings where you may be in close contact with other people’s bodies, the CDC has a fact sheet of practices to consider.

Importantly, Adalja said, “Monkeypox is not contagious during the incubation period, so it doesn’t have this ability to spread the way some viruses like influenza or SARS-CoV-2 can.” Experts are currently studying whether this is still the case in this outbreak.

Pus filled monkeypox lesions on his hand

Monkeypox lesions develop through a series of stages before scabies, according to the CDC.

While a rash traditionally begins on the face before becoming more widespread, monkeypox blemishes can be limited and resemble a pimple or other sore and are not always accompanied by flu-like symptoms.

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Is there a vaccine against monkeypox?

yes. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved JYNNEOS for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox. Because monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, smallpox vaccines are also effective against monkeypox. In addition to JYNNEOS, the United States has another smallpox vaccine in stock, called ACAM2000.

In some countries, vaccines have been given to more-risk contacts of people with monkeypox. This type of targeted vaccination is what Adalja calls “circular vaccination,” in which health officials isolate an infected person and vaccinate their contacts to stop the spread. He said antiviral drugs that work against smallpox would also have an effect on monkeypox.

Because the incubation period for the disease is very long, said Dr. Daniel Pastola, chair of the division of neuroinfectious diseases and assistant professor of neurology, medicine and epidemiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the vaccine is used in people who have been exposed but have not yet developed symptoms of monkeypox. .

“Basically what you do is stimulate the immune system with the vaccine, and make the immune system recognize the virus before the virus has a chance to multiply,” Pastola said.

In the UK, health officials have announced that some people who have not yet been exposed but are at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox will be offered the vaccine.

Although it is recommended that health care professionals and laboratories who work directly with monkeypox receive smallpox vaccines (and even boosters), the original smallpox vaccines are not available to the general public and have not been given widely in the United States since the early 1970s. Because of this, any indirect or “protective” immunity from smallpox vaccines will be limited to the elderly, the World Health Organization said. According to the World Health Organization, smallpox vaccination has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.

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Monkeypox Explained: What You Need to Know


The Big Picture

It’s helpful to be aware of monkeypox symptoms, especially if more cases emerge in the United States, according to Stolla, but there’s no reason to panic.

“This shows the need for public health,” Pastola said. “As we’ve seen with COVID, it’s very important to have a strong public health system and to support our public health system.”

It also draws attention to the wide variety of viruses we live with. All zoonotic diseases (which include COVID-19) She has the ability to be serious, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on her, he said.

“I think this shows that there are a lot of potential threats from zoonoses – these are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans,” Pastola said. This represents the need for public health monitoring, he said, “but it also really shows that we have to be careful and thoughtful in our interactions with both wild animals and domestic animals.”

It’s also an evolving situation, he said, so the recommendations made by public health officials will change as the information changes; The same goes for all diseases and new sciences.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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