Brooke Zwick - Teen Aspect - August 7th, 2022
During the past few months, there has been a resurgence in Monkeypox in the United States and now globally. On July 23rd, the WHO declared Monkeypox a global emergency (i). News outlets have focused on the prevalence of Monkeypox infections within the gay community. However, infection risks are not confined to gay men and there are a variety of means of transmission to be aware of.
Monkeypox comes from the orthopoxvirus and shares similarities with smallpox. Monkeypox can be identified with symptoms such as soreness, chills, fever, and most importantly, rashes and bumps. The first case dates back to 1970 and has only really been seen in the United States a couple of times in the past few years. While this is a global emergency, it isn’t a pandemic like Covid-19. Unlike the Coronavirus pandemic, there are already 2 main vaccines for Monkeypox; ACAM2000 and JYNNEOS (ii). However, there is still reason for concern as little is known about how effective the vaccine is in preventing the virus.
News stations all over America are labeling the virus as a primarily sexually-transmitted disease. Despite that common belief, the virus can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact, usually getting in through lesions on the skin. While sexual contact is one form of transmission, several others include contact with bedsheets, clothing, towels, or any sort of close contact with an infected person.
Those who are at the highest risk for infection are people with multiple sexual partners, medical professionals, and even veterinarians. Nevertheless, that does not exclude everybody from potential risks. The CDC is currently recommending that everyone stays aware, pay attention to rashes that look like monkeypox, avoid large social gatherings, and of course, wash their hands. For medical professionals working closely with monkeypox, PPE (personal protection equipment) and being careful with clothing, bedsheets, and towels of patients is extremely important.
Humans are not the only ones that need to be monitored. Pets in the home can carry the disease as well (seeing as Monkeypox was first contracted from animals). The CDC recommends having no contact with your pet if you are infected and in the case your animal does have monkeypox, to visit a veterinarian for help with treatment and care.
More information is being discovered about the virus, and with the ongoing help of scientists and healthcare professionals, we can be better prepared. Continue to follow CDC guidelines and always be cautious of yourself and others during times like these. Additionally, remembering to research for yourself and get the details of a virus is important, as misinformation has already been found to be a problem with the coverage of monkeypox within journalism.
(i) World Health Organization. (n.d.). Who director-general declares the ongoing monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. World Health Organization. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/23-07-2022-who-director-general-declares-the-ongoing-monkeypox-outbreak-a-public-health-event-of-international-concern
(ii) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 30). Monkeypox. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html