Earlier this year in January, a very rare case of the viral infection Monkeypox was discovered in England, now the first case in the U.S. was reported Wednesday in Massachusetts. Monkeypox according to the CDC is spread similar to COVID through any openings on the body (mouth, nose, wound)  when a person comes into contact with another human, animal, or object carrying the virus. They also wanted to clarify, “the main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell while smallpox does not.” The name comes from scientists in 1950’s first detecting the virus from lab monkeys. Since then, the first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and spread to several other central and western African countries.

Last  July Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed a case from a person who traveled from Nigeria to Dallas but reassured the public it was “not a reason for alarm.” Somehow, the virus is making its way back to headlines with outbreaks happening all over the world. Just yesterday, CNN reports that Spain “confirmed seven cases of monkeypox in Madrid and are investigating another 22; Italy confirmed its first case; and Canadian public health officials announced they are investigating 17 suspected cases of monkeypox in Montreal.”

As if the panic of COVID-19 wasn’t enough, please don’t freak out and buy all the toilet paper just yet. US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day, “At this time, we don’t want people to worry. These numbers are still small; we want them to be aware of (the) symptoms, and if they have any concerns to reach out to their doctor.” So what exactly should we look out for?

SYMPTOMS OF MONKEYPOX

(According to the CDC )

The illness begins with:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.

Lesions progress through the following stages before falling off:

  • Macules
  • Papules
  • Vesicles
  • Pustules
  • Scabs

The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks.

 

VARIANTS TO WATCH OUT FOR

“The Federal reports Monkeypox has two types of variants – the Congo strain and the West African strain. The Congo variant is a dangerous strain with a mortality rate of 10 per cent, while the West Africa strain is milder with a mortality rate of one per cent. The recent cases reported in the UK are of the West African variant.”

HOW TO AVOID GETTING SICK

(According to the CDC )

  • Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
  • Stay away from those infected or those who could be at risk for infection.
  • Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Click Here to access a Worldwide Monkeypox Tracker to stay updated with confirmed cases and research data.

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