Monkeypox has now been declared a public health emergency and more than 8,900 cases have been confirmed in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s many questions surrounding the virus like is it as contagious as COVID, how do you catch it, who is at risk and what precautions to take? Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with infectious disease specialist Katie Passaretti, MD, enterprise chief epidemiologist and immunologist at Atrium Health who answers all those questions and explains what to know about monkeypox. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
We’re Losing the Opportunity to Get Monkeypox Under Control
Dr. Passaretti tells us, “Our window to get the spread of monkeypox under control is rapidly closing – ensuring access to testing, getting vaccines into those at highest risk and making sure we don’t stigmatize those infected with monkeypox, such that they don’t seek care, are of paramount importance. The risk of getting monkeypox from surfaces (touching money, door handles, restrooms) is very low – wash your hands regularly, as you always should, and you will be fine!”
YOUTUBE VIDEO: What is monkeypox? Here’s what you need to know
Why Are Monkeypox Cases Rising?
Dr. Passaretti states, “Great question! It is likely the current outbreak started with someone infected during travel to Africa, where monkeypox is seen more commonly. That infected individual returned home and unknowingly infected others. Many of the early cases have been in gay men – group events like raves or pride events have allowed for close contact associated with increased spread of monkeypox. It is highly likely that cases of monkeypox were spreading well before we realized there was an issue, which is part of why early diagnosis and vaccine efforts are so important.”
What Should People Know About Monkeypox?
Dr. Passaretti says, “Monkeypox is a distant relative of other pox viruses, like smallpox and chickenpox, that causes fevers, swollen lymph nodes and a painful rash that can result in scarring. It is an illness that had rarely been seen in the United States until this current outbreak. Monkeypox does not spread as easily as COVID or flu. Having said that, a lot of the same things that are recommended for COVID can help keep you safe from monkeypox – washing your hands regularly, social distancing and encouraging everyone to stay away from others when they have fevers or are sick all help prevent spread. In addition, since we are seeing spread amongst sexual partners, being up front and asking partners about any rashes or fevers is important in keeping everyone healthy.”
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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