Monkeypox -What is it?
Monkeypox is a rash that can occur on humans or animals and may be located on or near the genitals, or on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash may first appear like pimples or blisters and slowly go through several stages before healing. These rashes may be painful and/or itchy. Rashes due to monkeypox will look different from other conditions such as chickenpox, as the lesions will be in the same stage during the healing process. Other symptoms may include but not limited to: fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, headache, respiratory symptoms, etc. Some may experience all or very few symptoms. Some may even experience flu like symptoms before developing a rash.
How does it spread?
Monkeypox spreads through close contact with someone who has the virus, often skin to skin contact. A pregnant person can spread the virus to the fetus through the placenta. It can also be spread through touching object, fabrics, and other surfaces that have been used or touched by someone with Monkeypox.
The CDC states its also possible for people to get Monkeypox from infected animals. This could occur from being scratched or bitten by an infected animal, or from preparing, eating, or using products from an infected animal.
How long does it last?
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. Therefore, some may not even know they have been exposed until later when symptoms begin to appear.
How to prevent the spread?
By being mindful of safer sex and in social gatherings, you could help to prevent the spread of the virus. During isolation at home, clean and disinfect spaces regularly occupied. The CDC recommends the use of an EPA-registered disinfectant in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to clean.
In addition, during isolation, you should stay away from pets and wildlife to prevent further spread of the virus. The CDC classifies close contact with pets to include petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food.
Because monkeypox is so similar to the smallpox virus, vaccines have been developed to protect against the virus. The CDC recommends only people who have been exposed to or live in an area that has a high rate of monkeypox should get vaccinated. Currently there is no treatment for the Monkeypox virus; however, monkeypox and smallpox are similar and antiviral drugs developed to protect against smallpox may be used to treat monkeypox effectively.
The antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat smallpox in adults and children and may be used to treat monkeypox. It is important to speak to a healthcare provider if you have any symptoms of monkeypox.