As monkeypox circumstances enhance throughout the nation, so do varied misconceptions about how the illness spreads, who it infects and the way lethal it’s.
Myths about infectious illnesses can have a serious impression on public well being efforts. Prior to now, such misunderstandings have brought on folks to underestimate their threat, keep away from taking precautions that assist stop transmission, and select to not get vaccinated.
One of many worst issues that individuals can do throughout a public well being emergency is gasoline myths that trigger worry and panic, in keeping with Dr. Jorge Salinas, a hospital epidemiologist at Stanford College. Clear and correct communication might help folks perceive their private threat and really feel empowered to take protecting steps.
“We have to stick with the science,” Salinas mentioned.
Right here, HuffPost units the document straight and corrects a number of the monkeypox misinformation that has circulated just lately.
Fable: Monkeypox Solely Spreads Via Intercourse
Although monkeypox isn’t thought of a sexually transmitted an infection, it primarily spreads by means of shut, intimate contact. However the virus doesn’t solely unfold by means of intercourse.
Monkeypox transmission requires extended, usually skin-to-skin contact — which you’ll be able to have with or with out intercourse. Hugging and cuddling, and even touching bedding and different objects that have been utilized by somebody with monkeypox, can put you in danger.
“Is intercourse required, compulsory, necessary to accumulate monkeypox? The reply is not any,” Salinas mentioned.
Fable: Monkeypox Is Simply Like COVID-19
Whereas COVID-19 can simply be contracted by means of aerosols within the air, getting monkeypox is harder, mentioned Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, the medical director of an infection management and prevention at Ochsner Well being. Monkeypox requires that extended, shut contact with an contaminated particular person’s pores and skin lesions, massive respiratory droplets or contaminated objects.
“This isn’t COVID-19. This isn’t a extremely infectious, extremely transmissible respiratory virus,” Salinas added.
Salinas doesn’t suppose monkeypox is able to inflicting the identical havoc that COVID-19 did. Pandemic viruses are usually extremely transmissible respiratory viruses that may unfold within the pre-symptomatic part, which makes them arduous to regulate.
That mentioned, monkeypox remains to be a public well being downside, and you need to take precautions.
“I’m not saying monkeypox is straightforward to regulate, however it isn’t as troublesome — it’s not in the identical ballpark — as respiratory viruses,” Salinas mentioned.
Fable: Monkeypox Solely Impacts A Sure Inhabitants
Monkeypox is primarily spreading amongst males who’ve intercourse with males, together with nonbinary people and transgender girls who’ve intercourse with males. The danger is best amongst folks with a number of sexual companions, however anybody who’s intimately uncovered to monkeypox can contract it.
The virus isn’t selective about who it infects, Baumgarten mentioned. As a substitute, it actually simply has to do with the mode of transmission.
Monkeypox appears to proliferate inside this explicit social community as a result of it has extra alternatives to unfold by means of shut contact. However this doesn’t imply that the virus can’t get into different circles. In reality, it seemingly already did however then burned out earlier than it had the prospect to unfold additional.
“This virus could be transmitted from individual to individual by means of shut skin-to-skin contact, it doesn’t matter what exercise or what gender the particular person is,” Salinas mentioned.
Fable: Monkeypox Is A New Sickness We’re Preventing
The illness was first recognized within the late Fifties and has been endemic in sure West and Central African nations.
Although monkeypox doesn’t usually get away of endemic areas like these, it’s not remarkable. The U.S. has seen sporadic circumstances prior to now when folks traveled to such areas or have been uncovered to imported animals that have been contaminated.
“It has not been largely transmissible because it has been extra just lately. Nevertheless it has been round for a very long time and simply has not had the chance to unfold all through populations like it’s now,” Baumgarten mentioned.
Fable: The Low Fatality Charge Means Monkeypox Needn’t Be Taken Significantly
Only a few folks die from monkeypox basically, in keeping with Salinas, and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s case knowledge signifies that no monkeypox deaths have been confirmed within the present U.S. outbreak.
“The pressure that’s circulating proper now isn’t very lethal. And prior to now, it solely had been related to a lower than 1% mortality,” Baumgarten mentioned.
The overwhelming majority of people that contract monkeypox don’t should be hospitalized and might handle their signs — which generally embrace fever, physique aches and painful pores and skin lesions — from residence, Salinas mentioned.
However although the illness isn’t often life-threatening, it could possibly nonetheless be harmful. In sure circumstances, the lesions may cause imaginative and prescient issues or points with urinating and defecating.
“It’s clinically gentle as a result of folks don’t die or should be hospitalized. However on the identical time, it may be a major problem,” Salinas mentioned.