Special to Jobe Publishing, Inc.
The government is yet again publicizing news of a virus. The latest is Monkeypox. Presented here are the facts about the virus from the CDC so that you can better understand what the national news media and the government are telling you.
Monkeypox is a RARE disease caused by an infection with the Monkeypox virus. The virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus which includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus. The virus is not related to chickenpox.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Even though named for the primates, the source of the disease is still unknown. African rodents and primates may harbor the virus and infect people.
The first human case of Monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Since then, the virus has been reported in people in several other central and western African countries. Prior to 2022, nearly all cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs, or through imported animals.
Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder. The virus is rarely fatal and is not related to chickenpox. Symptoms of can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
There are no treatments specifically for Monkey Pox virus infections. However, Monkey Pox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat Monkey Pox virus infections.
Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.
If you have symptoms of Monkey Pox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has Monkey Pox.
Taking the following steps can help to prevent contracting Monkey Pox:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with the Monkey Pox rash.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with Monkey Pox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with Monkey Pox.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a sick person.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after contact with sick people.
- In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread the Monkey Pox virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.
A person who is sick with Monkey Pox should isolate at home. If they have an active rash or other symptoms, they should be in a separate room or area from other family members and pets when possible.
The CDC does not recommend widespread vaccination against Monkey Pox at this time.