Top 10 Things You Need to Know About MonkeyPox



Top 10 Things You Need to Know About MonkeyPox

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Monkeypox is in the news and we've got you covered on everything you need to know about it. For this list, we'll be looking at the most critical information regarding the recent outbreak of monkeypox in different parts of the world. Our countdown includes how it's diagnosed, who's most at risk, treatment, how it spreads, and more!
Script written by Mimi Kenny

Monkeypox is in the news and we've got you covered on everything you need to know about it. For this list, we’ll be looking at the most critical information regarding the recent outbreak of monkeypox in different parts of the world. Our countdown includes how it's diagnosed, who's most at risk, treatment, how it spreads, and more! Are you worried about monkeypox? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

#10: Where it Originated

Although monkeypox is all over the news right now, it’s been known about for decades. This disease was first identified in monkeys used for research in 1958. And the first recorded human case was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where most human cases have been recorded. Cases outside of Africa were reported for the first time in 2003, when an outbreak occurred in the United States. While monkeypox shares similarities with smallpox, the symptoms tend not to be as severe. The natural reservoir of monkeypox - such as a specific animal it originates from - is currently unknown.

#9: How it Spreads

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, meaning it spreads from animals to humans. Despite its name, it seems it’s not actually spread by monkeys. While an exact animal has yet to be determined, the World Health Organization has identified rodents as a likely culprit. The outbreak in 2003 was attributed to pet prairie dogs that had become infected. Monkeypox can spread from animals to humans through things like scratches, bites, and even bedding. Once a person is infected with monkeypox, they can spread it through sneezing and coughing as well as through sharing items like clothes. Although monkeypox can be passed via sexual activity, it should not be mistaken for a sexually transmitted disease.

#8: Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, monkeypox is similar to smallpox, as both diseases come from the virus family Poxviridae. Although the symptoms between the two are similar, monkeypox cases tend to be much less intense. Among the most common symptoms of monkeypox are fever, chills, headache, muscle and backaches, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. A rash then occurs, which typically starts at the face before spreading. This leads to lesions and ends with scabs, which eventually fall off. The primary difference between monkeypox and smallpox symptoms is that, unlike monkeypox, smallpox symptoms don't include swollen lymph nodes.

#7: Where It’s Spread To

While monkeypox is usually contained to Africa, cases have been reported this year in non-endemic countries. These include: the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Italy, France, Germany, and Australia. As of May 25, 2022, no deaths had been reported due to monkeypox. There had also been zero cases confirmed in Latin America. The CDC has advised travelers to "practice enhanced precautions.” These tips include avoiding contact with sick individuals and animals such as primates and rodents. It’s also advised to not avoid meat and other products derived from African wild animals, and to keep hands clean and away from one’s face.

#6: How It’s Diagnosed

If you’re receiving medical treatment or looking for an official diagnosis, it’s important to be transparent. Tell your provider if you’ve been in contact with anyone who has or is suspected of having monkeypox. Diagnosis can be made through observing symptoms alone. But cases are confirmed by taking fluid from lesions and submitting for PCR tests. As mentioned previously, the most telltale sign of having monkeypox is swollen lymph nodes. In May 2022, the CDC described the risk posed by monkeypox to the general public as “low.’ However, they still advise seeking immediate treatment if a previously unseen skin rash develops anywhere on your body.

#5: The Two Variants

Monkeypox is one name shared by two different virus strains. One comes from Central Africa, while the other comes from West Africa. As of May 2022, all recent cases have been confirmed as being from the West African strain. Thankfully, this is the milder of the two variants, with a significantly lower mortality rate. However, some experts believe this recent outbreak could lead to monkeypox spreading more easily and evolving further. Although there’s currently no indication of a third monkeypox variant, it’s still vital to contain the spread of this disease to prevent such a scenario from occurring.

#4: Who’s Most at Risk

While anyone can contract monkeypox, the disease can be more dangerous for some individuals than others. These include pregnant and immunocompromised people and young children. The first recorded case of monkeypox was in a nine-year-old child. According to the CDC at the end of May 2022, those in the LGBTQ community are at greater risk.That same month, the CDC also said there may be a higher risk associated with individuals with skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. However, the spreading of this disease is by no means exclusive to one particular group of people.

#3: How It Compares to COVID-19

News in the last few years has been dominated by one disease: COVID-19, as well as its multiple variants. So, you’re probably wondering how similar monkeypox is to COVID, if at all. Though both have spread around the world, experts advise not comparing the two. One major difference is how easily the diseases are spread. Monkeypox is said to be much less contagious. However, as of May 2022, it is unclear whether asymptomatic transmission occurs. As with COVID, if you suspect you have monkeypox, you should avoid contact with others and schedule a medical visit right away. Wear a mask whenever possible to help prevent further transmission.

#2: Treatment

As of May 2022, no treatment exists that’s specifically designed to cure monkeypox. However, there are still methods for fighting against this disease. Antiviral medications and immunoglobulins meant for smallpox have been used to ward off monkeypox, with promising results. The smallpox vaccine can also be administered to help reduce severity and risk of infection. Illness can last between two and four weeks. It’s important for patients with monkeypox to avoid contact with others during this time. In May 2022, Belgium became the first country to make a 21-day quarantine mandatory for any individuals who test positive for monkeypox.

#1: Prevention

Now that we know about monkeypox and its effects, how do we avoid contracting it? The CDC has many common-sense tips. These include avoiding contact with animals that could carry the disease as well as infected people and regular handwashing. Adults at high risk ages 18 and over can be given the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is meant to ward off smallpox and monkeypox. According to the CDC, smallpox and monkeypox vaccines can still be effective when administered after virus exposure. By doing all you can to keep yourself and others safe, you can help to curb the spread of monkeypox.