With the COVID-19 epidemic drifting back into the foreground of the cultural zeitgeist, it would be nice if the world’s other diseases, illnesses, and viruses took a holiday. But unfortunately, none of them got this memo. On May 18, the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started to investigate a single case of the monkeypox virus that had affected a resident of Massachusetts. Since then, the ABC has confirmed that it has spread into Melbourne and Sydney. On July 11, health authorities detected the first confirmed case of monkeypox in Queensland.
Moreover, on July 21, the WHO determined that this virus has now spread across so many countries that it’s become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. As Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO stated, “We have an outbreak that’s spread across the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria.”
But what exactly is monkeypox? How serious of an illness is it? Well, if you want answers to those questions, then you’ve come to the right place.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus that’s from the same family as smallpox, cowpox, and vaccinia. In 1958, it was first recorded infecting two monkeys. It’s worth noting that Scientific America states that monkeys aren’t the main carrier, nor do they typically give it to humans. In 1970, the first case of monkeypox was recorded infecting a child in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
What Are Monkeypox’s Symptoms?
The CDC states that monkeypox typically starts with you getting swollen lymph nodes, a fever, a headache, achy muscles, chills, and/or being exhausted. Between one and three days after these symptoms pop up, you’ll get a rash that will start on your face and spread to other parts of your body. Monkeypox usually lasts two to four weeks.
Is Monkeypox Deadly?
According to NPR, the version that’s spreading at the moment has a less than a 1% chance of killing you. There is a version in Africa that’s more deadly though, which kills up to 10% of people who get it.
How Can You Catch Monkeypox?
The WHO outlines that monkeypox typically is spread through the small droplets in an infected person’s breath during close contact situations. You can also get it from interacting with an infected person’s open wounds or a recently contaminated object that they interacted with. The Who also noted, “While close physical contact is a well-known risk factor for transmission, it is unclear at this time if monkeypox can be transmitted specifically through sexual transmission routes. Studies are needed to better understand this risk.”
How Do You Treat Monkeypox?
Monkeypox will typically be beaten by your own body, and you should recover without needing much or any medical intervention. Health Direct has stated that you’ll probably get over it with by staying hydrated and taking simple pain meds, like the classic paracetamol. I’d like to recommend resting in bed and enjoying the audiobooks of Deltora Quest, but I’m not a healthcare professional.
Is There a Vaccine for Monkeypox?
While there’s no specific vaccine that’s made for stopping monkeypox, Health Direct declared that smallpox vaccines have an 85% chance of preventing this disease. Moreover, they explained that being jabbed within four days of being exposed to monkeypox has a chance of stopping you from getting it. Nevertheless, Health Direct also wrote that the risk-benefit assessment for vaccinating people against monkeypox is complex. So, if you feel like you need this medicine then have a chat with your GP.