Monkeypox: the new covid?

Social media shows a lot of fake and misleading information about the monkeypox? So, what do we really know about monkeypox? Is it actually as dangerous as what is shown in the media?

First of all, there is no need to be scared of it! 

The monkeypox is NOT a new covid nor is it dangerous. It is not an endemic virus – at least not in regions outside of central Africa. With the help of social media, many people have panicked thinking that monkeypox will lead to a new pandemic, yet, the spread of this virus is really slow and not fatal. 

The monkeypox is a rare disease which comes from the same family of the viruses as the variola virus, the one which causes smallpox. Thanks to this, its symptoms are very similar to smallpox but milder, making it rarely fatal. Monkeypox symptoms usually start as a rash that may look like pimples or blisters that tends to appear on the face, mouth, and on other parts of the body such as the hands and feet. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely, typically lasting 2-4 weeks. Other common symptoms include fever,headaches, chills, exhaustion and muscle pain. 

Monkeypox is spread by close or intimate contact through personal, often skin-to-skin contact. For example, hugging, kissing or direct contact with the rash or objects that have been touched by someone with the virus. It could also be transmitted sexually, especially with gay men. Although the chances of getting it are still extremely low, prevention and safety are key. 

The good thing is that most people are able to recover fully without the need for medical treatment. However, if needed, as the monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, antiviral drugs and vaccines developed against smallpox are used to prevent and treat its infections.

The monkeypox is majorly concentrated in Central and West Africa, where the virus is endemic with lots of people sick due to lack of awareness, poverty and chronic health issues. Thankfully, these regions, as well as all the world, are receiving help from the United Nations to help stop the spread of the disease by doing things such as public health investigations and clinical management with supportive care. More importantly, there is vaccination for monkeypox being developed which will soon be available for everyone. 

On the other hand, the monkeypox virus has also been reported in countries where the disease is not endemic, meaning it has a small percentage of infected people where the transmission rate is slow. For example, in countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Spain and Germany. Moreover, a more direct example of this is Peru, which has 1,068 cases of monkeypox reported between 16 regions. Minsa claims that all the infected people have received assistance and 477 are already recovered. 

Therefore, I believe that this health crisis is not as extreme as the covid-19 pandemic; the regions who are suffering the most are receiving the necessary help not only by UN organisations such as WHO, but also by private NGOs. We have already survived a pandemic which had more devastating consequences for everyone, so I consider we are prepared to pass this one if we readily follow the safety precautions and prevention measures stated by the Minsa: reducing contact with people suspected of having the infection, washing hands frequently, wearing a mask correctly and most importantly, keeping social distance and isolating yourself in case of presenting the characteristic symptoms of this disease.

By: Bianca Alarcón 

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