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In the last couple of years, we have all heard about pandemics and endemics associated with the COVID-19 virus. If you have been paying attention to the news recently you have heard about the Monkeypox virus. As it spreads across the country, the concern is on the rise.
The monkeypox virus outbreak of 2022 has dominated news reports recently, but do we know what the monkeypox virus is? According to the CDC, the monkeypox virus is part of the family of viruses called orthopoxvirus, the same virus that causes smallpox (variola virus). The monkeypox virus was discovered in 1958 when a “pox-like” disease occurred in a colony of monkeys used for research, hence the name monkeypox. The virus is also known as hMPXV. Even though the virus is called monkeypox, the source of the disease is unknown. The virus can spread in several ways, including:
This virus can also be spread through contact with infected animals. A scratch/bite from an infected animal can transmit monkeypox, as well as preparing or eating meat from an infected animal. A person infected with monkeypox can transmit the virus from the time symptoms arise until the rash has fully healed and a new layer of skin has formed.
This can last roughly 2-4 weeks. Research is ongoing to determine if the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms, how often respiratory secretions transmit the virus, and whether the virus can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, or urine/feces.
While monkeypox is significantly less fatal than the current outbreak of COVID-19, the signs and symptoms of monkeypox are no less painful. Symptoms of monkeypox normally start approximately 3 weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms of monkeypox can be flu-like and include:
If flu-like symptoms are experienced, a rash likely develops 1-4 days later. An exposed individual may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. As stated, some folks experience flu-like symptoms before the rash, while others may experience the rash first, followed by other symptoms. Typically, this illness lasts 2-4 weeks, during which time you should avoid close contact with others.
Many news stories have reported the number of monkeypox cases is increasing in the US. To protect yourself from the monkeypox virus, you should take a few steps to avoid contracting the virus:
Being vigilant with your hygiene and avoiding close contact with someone who may be infected is your best defense other than the monkeypox vaccine. Consult your doctor or physician to determine if the vaccine is right for you. Be safe!
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Hi there, my name is Kevin Cleary. I was born in Westchester County in 1966 on December 3. I lived there until 1973 when my family moved. I graduated from high school in 1984 and then attended college in New ...
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