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What is Monkeypox?

Still curious? Check the bottom for a TL;DR from TikTok
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What is Monkeypox?

There is no denying that words like "outbreak," "infectious disease," and "virus" have changed a lot about our world. Recent news of a "Monkeypox" carries an eerie echo of late 2019 as news about Covid-19 started to pop up in American news sources. We were curious about the outbreak and put on our Googling hat for the good of our community (that's you). 

How did this start? A British resident traveled to Nigeria, where Monkeypox is endemic. The patient presented symptoms on April 29, returned to the UK on May 4, and was confirmed as a case of the virus on May 6. 

Is monkeypox new? The earliest identification of the disease was way back in 1958 among lab monkeys in Denmark. The earliest reports of human cases were in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A much later 2003 outbreak in the US was traced back to a pet store selling rodents from Ghana.

How does it spread? Transmission is typically through broken skin or eye, nose, or mouth contact. While monkeys are not originators of the virus, it is believed African rodents are, and monkeys eat such rodents, becoming infected and carrying the disease to other mammals. Humans in contact with monkeys can become infected through scratch, bite, or eating infected game. Once a human has contracted the virus, it becomes airborne in addition to all other transmission points. 

Are there any prevention methods? Luckily enough, the smallpox vaccine protects against monkeypox due to the close relationship between the two viruses. Tests show the vaccine protects animals from potentially lethal infections, but the results have not been replicated in humans due to smallpox vaccination ending with eradicating the disease. 

Evidence in Africa shows a reduced risk of infection in previously vaccinated people. 

Oh no, I caught monkeypox. What now? 7 to 14 days after exposure, headache, muscle pains, fever, and fatigue will accompany chicken pox-like marks and swollen glands at the ends of the jaw. The marks evolve into lesions combined with the other symptoms over two to four weeks before the lesions heal, leaving a dark discoloration on the skin. 

An antiviral drug called tecovirimat is approved in the US and EU to treat the virus. The drug is sometimes used in conjunction with hospitalization. 

What now? The World Health Organization says that while the virus can be lethal, the significantly more obvious symptoms will help stop the spread easier than Covid. 131 cases have been confirmed since May 7. The WHO is unsure if this is the beginning or the peak of transmissions. While the number of infected is more than previous outbreaks, the WHO is confident in its ability to contain the virus and its survivability, especially with treatment.

Still curious? TikTok has you covered 


Sources (for more info):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkeypox

https://www.newsweek.com/how-deadly-monkeypox-virus-fatality-rate-compared-covid-1709269

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox#:~:text=Monkeypox%20is%20usually%20a%20self,material%20contaminated%20with%20the%20virus.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/20/what-is-monkeypox-and-how-dangerous-is-it-cases-are-rising-globally.html

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