Recent concerns have arisen over the possibility of monkeypox becoming the next pandemic, following its declaration as a public health emergency in Illinois. However, according to Mary Hayden, MD, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical Center, the short answer is no. The virus that causes monkeypox is much harder to spread than the one that causes COVID-19, typically transmitted through skin-to-skin contact or close contact with infected body fluids.
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Summary of is monkeypox the next pandemic
|Harder to spread, primarily through skin-to-skin contact or close contact with infected body fluids||Easily spread through respiratory droplets|
|Not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI)||Not an STI|
|Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a painful rash||Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, and diarrhea|
|Vaccine available for eligible people||Vaccine available for everyone|
Is monkeypox the next pandemic?
While the monkeypox virus is a cause for concern, experts do not believe it will reach the pandemic levels of COVID-19. The virus spreads less easily, and most cases have been among men who have sex with men, with transmission thought to have occurred through intimate sexual contact. Despite this, it is still possible for anyone to contract monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a viral disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a painful rash. The rash often starts as small, flat spots that develop into bumps or blisters, similar to chickenpox or pimples.
How Monkeypox Spreads
The monkeypox virus spreads primarily through skin-to-skin contact with the rash of an infected person, or by close contact with infected body fluids. Less often, it spreads through droplets that are inhaled or enter the eyes or mouth. It can also be passed through contaminated clothing or bedding.
To reduce your risk of contracting monkeypox, avoid close skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox or appears ill. Do not share food, drinks, or eating utensils, and do not touch the clothing, bedding, or towels of anyone with monkeypox. Regular hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also recommended.
Testing and Treatment for Monkeypox
If you have an unexplained fever, rash, or other signs of monkeypox, seek medical attention immediately for testing. Cover any rashes or sores with clothing or Band-Aids, wear a mask, and avoid close or intimate contact with others until you receive your test results. Currently, a vaccine is available for eligible individuals.
Current State of Monkeypox
While monkeypox is currently a public health emergency in Illinois, the number of cases in the U.S. remains lower than in other countries. However, the situation is being closely monitored to prevent further spread.
While the monkeypox virus is a concern, it is not expected to reach the pandemic levels of COVID-19 due to its less transmissible nature. It is important to remain vigilant, practice good hygiene, and seek medical attention if symptoms appear.
1. Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease?
No, monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, although it can be transmitted through close physical contact.
2. What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a painful rash that may develop into bumps or blisters.
3. How can I protect myself from monkeypox?
Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox or appears ill, do not share personal items, and practice good hand hygiene.
4. Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?
Yes, a vaccine is available for eligible individuals.
5. Is monkeypox the next pandemic?
According to experts, it is unlikely that monkeypox will reach the pandemic levels of COVID-19 due to its less transmissible nature.
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