Regardless that we’re all nonetheless coping with Covid-19, one other contagious infectious illness has emerged: monkeypox. And also you’ve in all probability been listening to rather a lot about it currently. In July, the World Well being Group (WHO) declared monkeypox a world public well being emergency. President Joe Biden lately introduced a brand new monkeypox outbreak response group, and the White Home declared the illness a nationwide well being emergency. Thus far, there have been greater than 7,000 circumstances of monkeypox within the U.S., in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC).
However as monkeypox circumstances unfold, so does misinformation concerning the illness. That’s possible leaving you with plenty of unanswered questions concerning the virus, together with: “How fearful ought to I be about monkeypox?” and “Will monkeypox be the following Covid?”
On the second query, the reply is not any. “It’s definitely one thing that everybody ought to concentrate on,” says Georges Benjamin, M.D., govt director of the American Public Well being Affiliation. However, he says, thankfully monkeypox doesn’t have “the explosiveness of Covid,” that means circumstances of extreme sickness and fatalities have been a lot rarer, and it has to this point been far much less contagious.
Nonetheless, you do not need monkeypox, which is one motive that it’s essential to grasp how monkeypox is transmitted, the signs of the virus and the way it may be handled and prevented, Dr. Benjamin says. That will help you kind by reality vs. fiction, Good Housekeeping requested medical consultants to clear up among the commonest monkeypox myths.
Fantasy: Monkeypox is a brand new illness.
Monkeypox was first found in 1958, in line with the CDC. Two outbreaks of the illness, which is brought on by a virus in the identical household because the one which causes smallpox, have been found in monkeys that have been being stored for analysis. The primary human case occurred in 1970. Earlier than the 2022 outbreak, most monkeypox circumstances have been reported in central and western African international locations or amongst individuals who had traveled to international locations the place the illness was widespread.
Fantasy: The one monkeypox symptom is a rash.
A rash is the commonest monkeypox symptom that you just hear about, and the illness definitely does trigger pores and skin lesions, however that’s not the entire story. What does monkeypox do to your physique? In line with the CDC, signs embrace:
- Muscle aches and backaches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough
- A pimple- or blister-like rash on or across the genitals, anus, fingers, toes, chest, face or mouth which may be itchy or painful. The rash will undergo phases, together with scabbing and finally therapeutic.
“Early signs are often just like the widespread chilly,” says Paulette Gray Riveria, M.D., M.P.H., a household medication doctor with the digital well being platform PlushCare. “As soon as a rash develops, monkeypox could be unfold most simply. An individual with a monkeypox rash is most contagious by skin-to-skin contact from the time the rash seems till it crusts or scabs over utterly.”
Signs often begin inside three weeks of being uncovered to the virus, and the sickness can final two to 4 weeks, the CDC says. Some individuals stay symptom-free for the primary week or two of an infection, and scientists are nonetheless making an attempt to grasp if an individual can unfold the virus in the event that they don’t have signs. As soon as somebody begins to expertise a rash, they’re contagious.
Fantasy: It’s simple to inform when you’ve got monkeypox.
The monkeypox rash can look totally different from individual to individual. “It could initially appear like a bug chunk and itch like a bug chunk,” Dr. Riveria says. However then the rash goes a unique route: Bug bites are inclined to swell at first after which flatten as they heal. A monkeypox rash, nevertheless, begins with a flat look and turns into raised and stuffed with fluid — a transition that may take as much as per week. It could be itchy and painful, too, however the lesions will finally scab over and disappear.
“A novel characteristic of the monkeypox rash is that the sores seem to have a small melancholy — a portion that seems to dip down within the middle — just like a tiny, depressed stomach button,” explains Dr. Riveria. “The sores are additionally well-circumscribed, that means that you can probably hint a clean circle across the edge; they don’t coalesce and mix into one another like another pores and skin rashes.” The CDC’s web site contains a number of images of monkeypox rash.
If you happen to’ve been uncovered to monkeypox or begin to get a rash, contact your physician or native well being division, Dr. Riveria says. Your physician could take a tissue pattern from an open lesion and ship it to a lab for testing to verify a monkeypox prognosis, in line with the WHO. Within the meantime, sanitize family surfaces, keep away from skin-to-skin contact with others and canopy rashes with gloves, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
Fantasy: Monkeypox is a sexually transmitted an infection (STI).
Monkeypox isn’t an STI, Dr. Riveria says. It’s, nevertheless, unfold through “shut, private, usually skin-to-skin contact,” the place somebody has direct contact with an individual who has a monkeypox rash, in line with the CDC. That will contain intercourse, but in addition contains plenty of different issues. “The very best descriptor of monkeypox is that it’s a virus that may be unfold by skin-to-skin contact, together with the contact that takes place throughout intercourse.”
Meaning if somebody has the virus, they will unfold it whereas touching another person throughout oral, anal or vaginal intercourse, sure, but in addition by merely kissing, hugging or shaking fingers. Scientists are nonetheless working to grasp whether or not monkeypox could be unfold through semen, vaginal fluids, feces or urine, however a pregnant particular person can unfold the virus to their child.
Fantasy: Monkeypox is an airborne virus.
Monkeypox is just not airborne, Dr. Benjamin says. It’s transmitted by direct, private contact with an individual contaminated with the virus and who’s infectious — resembling kissing, shaking fingers, having intercourse or ingesting from the identical cup.
And monkeypox is one virus that ought to encourage numerous hand-washing and disinfecting of counter tops. “One of many challenges with this illness is that the virus lives on surfaces fairly simply,” says Dr. Benjamin. The CDC means that the virus can probably reside on surfaces for a few weeks to a month. So, an individual can doubtlessly get monkeypox from touching objects, like a rest room seat, mattress linens or clothes utilized by an contaminated particular person.
If you happen to or somebody in your family has monkeypox, cleansing and disinfecting surfaces is essential to stop the unfold. Wash contaminated bedding or clothes in scorching water with common laundry detergent. Dr. Benjamin additionally recommends carrying gloves when cleansing or caring for somebody with the virus (and never touching your face or physique together with your gloved fingers.)
Fantasy: The monkeypox vaccine is extensively out there to anybody.
Proper now, that is not the case. There are two vaccines that may stop monkeypox, however they’re at the moment briefly provide within the U.S., after officers delayed ordering the pictures. The federal government is distributing about 1.1 million doses, although well being officers say about 3.5 million are wanted to curtail the outbreak. Extra doses are stated to be on the best way.
The CDC means that anybody who’s been uncovered to monkeypox or who’s at the next danger for getting the virus get vaccinated. Excessive-risk teams embrace sure well being staff and individuals who’ve had a number of sexual companions prior to now two weeks in an space with monkeypox. Getting the vaccine inside 4 days of publicity could stop signs, whereas getting vaccinated inside 14 days could scale back signs. To discover a vaccine in your space, Dr. Benjamin recommends reaching out to your native well being division.
Fantasy: Monkeypox can’t be handled.
Whereas there’s no treatment or focused remedy for monkeypox, it may be handled with antiviral drugs, together with TPOXX, which is used to deal with smallpox, Dr. Riveria says.
These antiviral drugs aren’t available, although, Dr. Benjamin says. He suggests contacting your physician or native well being division to seek out out concerning the remedies out there to you. You may as well handle monkeypox signs at dwelling with over-the-counter ache relievers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and oatmeal baths, in line with Cleveland Clinic. “Monkeypox sores could be painful or in any other case uncomfortable, however extreme sickness is uncommon,” provides Dr. Riveria. “Full restoration is probably going for most individuals contaminated with monkeypox.”
However as with many viruses, individuals of all ages who’re immunocompromised, with circumstances like HIV, AIDs, most cancers or different illnesses, are at the next danger of getting sicker from monkeypox, in line with Dr. Benjamin.
Fantasy: Monkeypox solely impacts the LGBTQ+ neighborhood.
Anybody can get monkeypox. Proper at this second, the individuals with the very best danger are males who’ve intercourse with males and have a number of intercourse companions, in line with the New England Journal of Medication, though monkeypox isn’t an STI, However, Dr. Benjamin stresses, “individuals shouldn’t simply assume that it is a illness within the LGBTQ+ neighborhood — everyone seems to be in danger. The chance is when you’ve got intimate contact with somebody who’s infectious.”
Fantasy: Monkeypox is prone to trigger main havoc, like Covid-19.
That is uncertain, Dr. Benjamin says. Monkeypox isn’t airborne, doesn’t assault the respiratory system and isn’t deadly. “Even with the rise in monkeypox circumstances, we aren’t seeing the proportion of fatalities and extreme sicknesses that we skilled within the early phases of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr. Riveria says.
Nonetheless, it’s an infectious illness that continues to unfold, so try to be conscious of what monkeypox seems to be like, the way it’s transmitted and tips on how to keep away from getting it. “An conscious and ready neighborhood will probably be greatest geared up to face what’s quickly growing: a rise in monkeypox circumstances nationally and worldwide,” says Dr. Riveria.
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