With the pandemic so raw in our worlds, I wonder if there will ever be a day when news of a new virus or disease doesn’t immediately sow panic? As is the case with the recent outbreak of the Monkeypox virus. With cases spreading outside West Africa – where the virus is endemic – and making appearances in countries including the UK, Australia, Canada and the US, we are here. to bring you the facts to avoid unnecessary alarm. Below, find 5 things to know about Monkeypox.
1. What is Monkeypox?
The first thing you should know about Monkeypox is that it is not a new virus. In 1970, a child living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was the first confirmed case of the virus after he was thought to have contracted smallpox. Second, most cases are mild and, although they may lead to more serious illness it’s rare. There is also two strains; the form dubbed the ‘Congo strain’ is more severe than that which led to the current outbreak, known as the ‘West African strain’.
The most up to World Health Organization date data (WHO) at the time of writing says the outbreak has spread to 23 countries with 257 confirmed cases. These countries include, but are not limited to, Argentina, Canada, United Arab Emirates, United States, France, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, and Sudan.
As for the first symptoms? They include: fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and chills, and exhaustion. Affected people will start noticing a rash one to ten days after flu-like symptoms and this will eventually develop into pus-filled blisters – although this is not always the case. During this time, symptoms usually last for two to four weeks and if skin lesions occur, they tend to scab over within 14 to 21 days depending on The conversation.
2. Why is it called Monkeypox?
The name refers to the fact that Monkeypox was first discovered in yes, research monkeys during studies in 1958. Despite this, monkeys have no real connection with the virus – they do not carry any the disease and are not responsible for its jump on humans.
3. How is it spread?
The latest information from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that Monkeypox is not easily transmitted between humans and when it is, it is through direct contact, whether through the exchange of bodily fluids like saliva, through the inhalation of respiratory drops, or through contact with soiled clothing or bandages. There is also evidence that the virus can spread from a pregnant mother to her fetus. At this time, it’s unclear which animal carries the disease, although the CDC suspects African rats may be playing a role.
Although the World Health Organization has reported that homosexuals are overrepresented in the number of casessaid Dr Michael Head, senior researcher in global health at the University of Southampton The Guardian that “there is no evidence that it is a sexually transmitted virus, such as HIV”. Instead, Head explained that the primary reason for transmission is most likely prolonged skin contact that happens during sex or while being intimate with a partner.
It is important to note that not all Monkeypox cases involve gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. And in New South Wales, ACON is monitoring the situation and is a trusted health resource for queer people with queer questions.
4. What are the treatments?
As monkeypox is a cousin of smallpox, there is evidence that smallpox vaccines are effective in the prevention of virus infection. However, most treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms and there is no cure for monkeypox infection.
5. Should we be worried?
The short and short of it is no. At this rate, the virus is unlikely to cause another pandemic, although we can understand why you’d be worried. In addition to this, the reported strain is mild and most people recover within a few weeks. Unlike the ‘Congo strain’ that kills around about 10% of those it infects. Those most at risk are immunocompromised people and pregnant women.