You may have heard the buzz about this outbreak of “monkeypox.” And if you look up the photos, you could become a bit concerned- for sure. Many people are asking, “what is monkeypox?” You are not alone.
Monkeypox is a rare and little-known disease that has recently shown up in 30+ cases globally. The cases identified mainly were mild. Nonetheless, governments are taking the spread seriously. Here is an explanation of the disease called monkeypox.
What is Monkeypox?
Simply put, monkeypox is a rare illness related to smallpox. It forms an awful-looking rash and begins on the face, spreading all over the body. Of these, there are two main strains- the west African and the central African. Most instances occur in African countries near tropical rainforest areas.
The name “monkeypox” comes from the first known cases, as they were found in monkeys in 1958.
Initially, a person with monkeypox will feel a slight headache, a fever, and body aches. Then when the fever breaks, the rash will start. The rash is made of lesions that look a bit like chickenpox.
The lesions are painful and itchy, mainly concentrating on the palm and soles. Unfortunately, the lesions can scar. But the pox will usually form scabs and begin to heal in 2 to 3 weeks.
Close contact with someone that is infected is how the disease spreads. According to the BBC, “The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth.”
Additionally, the virus can be spread by infected rodents and contaminated sheets, towels, and clothing.
Should the Caribbean Be Concerned About Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is generally mild, though uncomfortable. Although there is no known treatment for monkeypox, the smallpox vaccination is 80% effective. And many countries are ramping up their efforts to get people vaccinated for smallpox.
Here is what the experts are saying. There is no current concern about a nationwide outbreak. With the care that has been taken since 2020 to keep Corona Virus at bay, there are already systems in place to keep people distanced and safe.
It would seem that the spread is coming from travel to Africa. So, to answer the question, there is no need to panic. Continuing the handwashing and distancing from those who have any symptoms should keep most people safe.
If you plan to travel to Africa, it would be wise to make sure you have received the smallpox vaccine.
CITED: CDC.com, BBC.com, Scientific America