Monkeypox 2022: Everything you need to know

In May, public health officials began identifying cases of monkeypox around the world, including in areas where the disease does not normally spread. In addition to the outbreak in Central and West Africa, where the disease historically originated, the epidemic has spread to Europe, the United States, South America, and other parts of the planet.

The World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency of international concern over the disease’s global spread, and the Biden administration on Thursday declared a public health emergency for the monkeypox outbreak in the United States, two months after cases began to appear in the country. declared a state of emergency. .

What you need to know about monkeypox.

What is monkey pox?

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a virus similar to smallpox. The first human case was identified in 1970, and since then it has occurred primarily in several African countries.

Should we blame monkeys for monkeypox?

Leave the monkeys alone. Monkeypox got its name because it was first identified in a research monkey in 1958. But this virus likes to hang out with small furry creatures, especially rodents. One of the most recent outbreaks in the US occurred in 2003 when some domesticated prairie dogs shared space with infected mammals from West Africa.

Infected animals can transmit monkeypox to humans, but according to the CDC, there are no confirmed cases of humans spreading it to animals. They warn that an infected person can spread monkeypox to an animal by “petting, petting, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping quarters and sharing food”.

TL: DR: Cover your chinchilla when you have monkey sickness.

Where is monkeypox spreading?

Cases of monkeypox are emerging worldwide. Currently, cases are primarily concentrated among men who have sex with other men, but anyone can contract the virus.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

The most visible symptoms of monkeypox are blisters and pimple-like lesions on the body. In the past, monkeypox often involved sores all over the body. During this outbreak, many patients develop multiple blisters on one part of the body, such as the genital area. Patients also experience fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and other flu-like symptoms.

The disease is usually not fatal, but can be very severe. It usually lasts two to four weeks.

I’m having flashbacks — is it still COVID-19?

No, it’s not COVID-19 again. This is not a new virus. Scientists have known about monkeypox for decades, even though it hasn’t appeared in that many countries before. There are drugs and vaccines against it. While most people in the U.S. haven’t heard of monkeypox before, we’re not starting from scratch in our journey with the coronavirus.

Is this monkeypox outbreak a pandemic?

do not. Although monkeypox is spreading around the world, it is still considered an epidemic. There are no official criteria for a pandemic, but the World Health Organization eventually calls whether an outbreak qualifies, and that hasn’t happened yet. The last declared pandemic was COVID-19 in March 2020, which was about yesterday or eight decades ago, depending on how warped your perception of time has been in the last couple of years.

Monkeypox is now a public health emergency both in the United States and worldwide. Emergency declarations help countries and organizations free up resources for public health response during an outbreak.

Photo by David Joles/Star Tribune via Getty Images

How can I get tested for monkeypox?

Currently, monkeypox testing is still limited in the United States. People are examined by doctors or paramedics. The tests require swabbing a monkeypox sore and sending it to a lab for testing. Some people with symptoms and a rash report that they still struggle to get tests – many doctors are still unfamiliar with the disease.

Are there tests at home?

There are no home tests for monkeypox. Most tests still require healthcare workers to swab for monkeypox, and in this case, someone can’t do it on their own. Some groups are working on developing tests that use saliva.

Do I need to get the monkeypox vaccine?

The good news is that there is an FDA-approved vaccine to prevent monkeypox: Jynneos. The bad news is that it is now in short supply in the United States. State and local health departments are making it available to people who have had monkeypox because vaccination after exposure prevents the virus from multiplying. Public health officials recommend the vaccine to groups where the virus is most likely to spread: men who have sex with men and people who have multiple sex partners in endemic areas.

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox is spread primarily through person-to-person contact – when someone has close physical contact with someone who has the virus. Currently, it seems to be spread mostly through sex, which is one reason why we see infections clustered in sexual networks. Monkey pox can be caught by touching items or fabrics (such as sheets) that have been in contact with monkey pox. However, this is not a major mode of transmission and basic hygiene measures (wiping faces, washing hands) should reduce the risk.

The monkeypox virus can be spread when infected people exhale and are inhaled by nearby people, but it is not contagious through this route like COVID-19. We haven’t seen cases of people contracting the virus just from sharing a room with someone with monkeypox, which we do with COVID-19.


Monkey Pox Inoculation Facility in Brooklyn, New York.
Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

Why is monkeypox suddenly spreading so quickly?

Scientists are still trying to figure out why monkeypox started to spread outside of the places where it is usually found. This may be due to new features of the virus that allow it to go undetected, but that is an open question.

Should I be afraid of catching monkeypox on the subway?

Monkey pox is spread primarily through close physical contact, so the subway shouldn’t be a big threat—just wear a mask (masks are still required on the New York subway) and wash your hands.

Does filming a person with monkeypox in public make it okay?

What? A horse. This is disgusting. Do not do this.

Where can I get the latest information about monkeypox?

The CDC monkey pox page is here. Here you can find updated case counts, more information about signs and symptoms, and information about prevention and treatment.

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