Monkeypox is in the news. If it weren’t for the pandemic, it might not be as scary. Now we are primed to frightened of any spread of infectious disease, especially ones of which we are unfamiliar. Best thing is to familiarize.
Monkeypox is a cousin to small pox coming from the same family, Poxviridae, a double stranded DNA virus. It is endemic in Central and West Africa. It may be endemic in these areas because of incomplete vaccination in these parts to small pox when that was going around. The small pox vaccine should work on Monkeypox, too.
The symptoms are the usually viral prodrome with fever, chills, night sweats. Then the distinctive rash develops which evolve from flat, to raised, to clear fluid filled, to pus filled, to breaking over, then scabbing. All within 2-3 weeks. It has a low mortality rate, perhaps 1%. While minimal reports of this infection are reported generally, recently nearly a 100 cases have been reported worldwide the last month and about 7 of those in the United States. A working theory on why is that an infected person travelled from Africa to a couple of raves in Europe. The virus is not sexually transmitted, but rather through close physical contact. Either a bed partner, or house mate. But the first few who spread it self identified as gay men and it has been misconstrued as a method of spreading.
While not deadly, it still isn’t fun to get Monkeypox. If one gets it, the plan is that of ring vaccination. Using the small pox vaccine for close contacts of the affected individual.
So it’s not the next pandemic. It’s just a thing that we might see more of before we see less of. Recognition is key.