As humanity slowly returns back to what we have recognized as the norm, the world is facing another outbreak: monkeypox. Hearing the news of the outbreak of the monkeypox was scary. Just as when we thought that we’d be rid of the clutches of the coronavirus, there it was: the monkeypox. Now, several questions may be circulating in your mind as you read this. What is the monkeypox disease? How is the virus transferred from one to another? Are we at risk? What can I do to protect myself? As a result, this article will tackle these concerns in order to educate the world on monkeypox.
What is the monkeypox disease? The monkeypox disease is a rare, zoonotic disease. To contract the monkeypox disease, one must be infected with the monkeypox virus belonging “to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae” (“About Monkeypox.”). The disease was named after how it was first discovered in 1958 when “colonies of monkeys were kept for research” according to CDC. However, twelve years later, the first-ever case of human contracting monkeypox was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After that, the disease spread across central and western African countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone; the majority of the cases were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Now, the outbreak has traveled to non-endemic countries including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Singapore. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, commented, stating that “the natural reservoir of monkeypox remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) may harbor the virus and infect people” (“About Monkeypox.”).
Symptoms of monkeypox The symptoms of the monkeypox are similar to ones of smallpox however, there is a significant difference (See “Monekypox”). Monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell; smallpox does not. “The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days” (“About Monkeypox.”). The disease starts with the following symptoms: fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion (“About Monkeypox.”).
How does one contract the virus? Monkeypox’s transmission is unlike that of the coronavirus — it’s less likely to contract the former. For one to contract the monkeypox disease, the person would have to have very close contact with an infected person, an animal, or an object that has contracted or been in touch with the virus. On the other hand, much like the coronavirus, monkeypox can be spread through bodily fluids such as blood, urine, and saliva. As the virus displays itself on the body like a sore, any contact with the sore might infect. Even contact with a piece of clothing that has been in contact with the sore could result in contraction (“Monkeypox isn’t like COVID-19 — and that’s a good thing.”).
Am I at risk, and what should I do to protect myself from the monkeypox virus? If you do not show any symptoms and have not been exposed to any close contact with an infected person, you are safe. It is unlikely that you will have contracted the virus. There is a higher possibility that you will get the coronavirus than the monkeypox. Of course, there are things you can do to protect yourself from the monkeypox virus. Much like how one would approach the coronavirus, it is important to be careful with hygiene. You should wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer. If you are consuming meat, only eat meat that is well cooked and do not consume meat that comes from wild animals. Try to avoid close contact with stray or street animals that do not look well. Most importantly, if you are suspicious that someone you know has the monkeypox, use protective equipment such as a mask, etc. and try to avoid any contact with them (“Monkeypox: How you can protect yourself from the virus and what to do if you have symptoms.”).
In this article, we tried to gather the information you should know about the monkeypox outbreak in hopes of making it more digestible. Hopefully, after the reading, you feel better about the outbreak.
“About Monkeypox.” CDC, www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/about.html.
“Monkeypox: How you can protect yourself from the virus and what to do if you have symptoms.” Euro News. Euro News, www.euronews.com/next/2022/05/28/monkeypox-how-you-can-protect-yourself-from-the-virus-and-what-to-do-if-you-have-symptoms.
“Monkeypox isn’t like COVID-19 — and that’s a good thing.” NPR, www.npr.org/2022/05/24/1101003523/monkeypox-covid-19-differences.