US Reporter

What is Monkeypox and how do you prevent it

Image Source: REUTERS

Monkeypox is a contagious virus that has been on the headlines recently after outbreaks were recorded across the U.S., Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Health experts express their concerns about cases increasing if it isn’t mitigated quickly.

The Monkeypox outbreak was discovered in places where the virus is not endemic – this means that carriers have traveled to places and may have infected other people already, unbeknownst to them. In addition, this is happening after new waves of COVID-19 variants caused major economic hubs in different countries to impose another set of lockdown protocols to prevent the spread of the new variants.

Our World in Data confirms 346 cases in 22 countries – signaling the virus’ first community spread. The World Health Organization said that the virus spreads mainly through sex, recently, on men having sex with other men.

The World Health Organization warned that anyone could contract the virus – children, non-vaccinated individuals and pregnant women are at high-risk, meaning they should be extra cautious.

Further, health experts have discovered that smallpox vaccines are 85% effective against Monkeypox, meaning countries may no longer need mass vaccination initiatives.

Despite this, WHO emphasized the need for good hygiene and safe sex to stop the spread of the virus.

How to stop contracting the virus

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the U.K.’s National Health Service said to the public ways to counter the virus:

  • Avoid coming into contact with people recently diagnosed with the virus or those who may have been infected.
  • Wear a face mask if you are in close contact with someone who has symptoms.
  • Use condoms and keep an eye out for symptoms if you have recently changed sexual partners.
  • Avoid coming into contact with animals that could be carrying the virus. This includes sick or dead animals and particularly those with a history of infection, such as monkeys, rodents and prairie dogs.
  • Practice good hand hygiene, especially after coming into contact with infected — or suspected infected —animals or humans. For instance, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients with confirmed or suspected monkeypox infection.
  • Only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly.

When infected, what should you do?

A patient may feel these initial symptoms once infected:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Swelling
  • Backpain

Within one to five days after infection, a patient will develop rashes and lesions on the face, feet, eyes, hands, mouth, or genitals. The rashes will become bumps and then blisters which may contain whitish fluid.

If you’re diagnosed with Monkeypox, isolation should be the first move. Most people recover from the virus within 2 to 4 weeks – patients are encouraged to isolate themselves within that period.

The best and safest solution, according to U.K.’s National Health Service, is to go to a specialist hospital.

Opinions expressed by US Reporter contributors are their own.