Monkeypox: All you need to know

It seems like we can’t get a break from infectious diseases and life will never get back to normal ever again.

People across the world are worried that the monkeypox virus will destroy their peace and chain their freedom after finally being able to breathe again and gradually heal from the side effects of COVID-19.  

The monkeypox outbreak is literally the new “freak”! The name alone can scare the hell out of you and if it doesn’t, the symptoms surely will! However, there is no need to stress or panic as long as you learn more about the virus and how to protect yourself from it. Spoiler alert: We’re going to be just fine!

In this article, I will try to answer all the questions you might have about this new freak, its symptoms, the outbreak, the prevention, and the cure.

Together, we will learn more about this infectious disease and learn how to protect ourselves and the people we love. 

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

What is Monkeypox? 

Monkeypox virus is a rare infectious disease that can occur in both humans and some other animals. The virus was first discovered when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys in 1958. 

In 1970, the first human case of this virus was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since then the monkeypox has been reported in people in central and western African countries, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. 

As for the infected human cases reported outside of Africa, they were all linked to international travel or imported animals. This includes cases in the United States, as well as Israel, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is related to smallpox, but its symptoms are milder and less severe. The only difference that can be noted here is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell while smallpox does not.

Monkeypox infection generally starts with fever, fatigue, muscle pain, and headaches. The infection typically lasts for a period of 7-14 days and in some other cases may range from 5-21 days. 

Monkeypox infection usually comes in two stages. The first one includes the following symptoms: 

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue & extreme  exhaustion

While the second stage is characterized by the development of a rash on the face and other parts of the body after 1 to 3 days of the infection. The rash often goes through different stages before falling off.

How is The Virus Transmitted?

The transmission of the monkeypox usually occurs due to direct contact with animals, people, or shared items infected with the virus. According to the US Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention, anyone “ can spread the virus through direct contact with infectious body fluids or monkeypox sores of an infected person with the virus.” 

The  WHO’s epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention chief, Sylvie Briand, stated during the World Health Assembly in Geneva that the monkeypox virus spread shouldn’t be a source of concern.

She also added saying to the member state representatives attending the World Health Assembly that “This is not a disease the general public should be worried about. It is not Covid or other diseases that spread fast.” 

the US health body added that monkeypox has only been fatal in rare cases with a fatality ratio of 3 to 6 percent. 

Does Monkeypox only spread among gay communities?

It’s true that many of the cases have been linked to men having sex with men, but experts stress that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease and there is no evidence that proves this. 

Also, it is still not known if the virus can spread through sperm or vaginal fluids. So the answer to this question is: No! Monkeypox doesn’t spread during gay intimate contact. However, Monkeypox can indeed spread between people during sex, as well as in intimate activities like kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body infected with monkeypox sores.

In brief, any contact with an infected person, whether straight or gay, can lead to the catching of the monkeypox virus. 

Is there a cure for monkeypox?

Unfortunately, there is currently no specific treatment or medication that can be used to cure it. However, some antivirals made to treat smallpox may actually work and help treat the infection. Here you can find some medical countermeasures from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) that are available options to treat this new virus.

How to protect yourself against monkeypox?

Prevention is better than cure! Hence, taking the necessary preventative measures remains the wisest thing to do to prevent the infection with the virus. 

Here are some things you should do:

  • Avoid all contact with animals or humans carrying the monkeypox virus. 
  • Don’t Touch the rash or scabs of a person infected with the monkeypox virus.
  • Avoid sharing items or coming into contact with contaminated materials, such as bedding, that have been used by an infected person or came in contact with a sick animal.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water and always carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you.

What to do if you catch it?

If you have the symptoms, it’s very important that you do the following:

  • Isolate yourself at home and immediately contact a health worker. 
  • Avoid all skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with other people to prevent spreading the virus. This also includes sexual contact. 
  • Always practice good hygiene and clean your hands, objects, and surfaces that have been touched regularly.
  • Wear a mask if you come in close contact with others.

The Bottom Line

No need to panic!

With social distancing and good hand hygiene, you will be safe and sound!

I hope all your questions are answered! 

Till our next article, stay safe!

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