Monkeypox...Another Pandemic?!

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by Sheana Gray Sheana Gray, BSN, RN (New)

Specializes in RN Freelance Content Writer. Has 2 years experience.

Are we entering another pandemic with Monkeypox? Learn what Monkeypox is, the signs and symptoms, and if you are at risk for contracting Monkeypox.

COVID and now MONKEYPOX???

Monkeypox...Another Pandemic?!

After entering the perceived recovery phase of Covid-19, the last thing we want is another pandemic. However, we are now experiencing an outbreak of the Monkeypox virus. An outbreak is a dramatic increase of disease exposure in a geographic location, region, or community. Monkeypox has reached the United States, with New York having the highest number of cases at 581 and California following at 267. You may ask, “what is Monkeypox?”, “how do I catch Monkeypox virus?” and “should I be worried?”.

What is Monkeypox?

In 1958, Monkeypox was discovered among a group of research monkeys. Despite the name ‘Monkeypox,’ the actual virus did not originate from monkeys; in fact, the origin of the virus is unknown. What is known is the virus is related to the same virus that caused the infamous smallpox outbreak in the 17th century.

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Monkeypox affects animals such as rodents, monkeys, and rats. However, the virus can also infect humans. It usually infects animals who live in the Central and West African regions. International travel and close contact with infected animals or humans increase the risk of infection.

How Do I Catch Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is transmitted through: 

  • Bodily secretions through sexual contact and touching.
  • Being in close intimate contact, breathing the same air as an infected person, for example, when kissing for more than 4 hours. 
  • Blood, as an infected pregnant mother can pass the infection to her baby through the placenta.
  • Contact with the infected person’s rashes and items 
  • Being in contact with infected animals through bites, consuming infected animals, or scratches. 

Symptoms of Monkeypox 

Signs and Symptoms of Monkeypox manifest 5-21 days after exposure and last about 2-4 weeks which include: 

  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Muscle aches and chills
  • Fever 
  • Exhaustion 
  • Blister-filled rashes that appear on hands, face, inside of the mouth, feet, or can appear near the genitalia or anus. 

Usually, after the fever, a rash starts on the feet, face, or hands as flat red spots. This rash then spreads to the rest of the body, being filled with puss until they scab over and fall off. 

Should I Be Worried? 

Luckily, Monkeypox is not initially fatal. However, people may have complications from Monkeypox like: 

  • Blindness
  • Severe scarring on the body
  • Infections 
  • And can lead to death.

But there is hope. Since Monkeypox and Smallpox are similar, there are antiviral drugs that may help to combat the virus. Antiviral medications like tecovirimat (TPOXX) are used for people with a weakened immune system to help fight the Monkeypox disease.

Here are Some Steps to Take to Protect Yourself

  • Wash your hands with soap and water 
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid contact with people who are infected with monkeypox
  • Do not eat after, use eating utensils after, or touch items people who are infected with monkeypox have touched
  • Do not have sex with anyone who has monkeypox
  • Avoid contact with infected animals from Central and West Africa

What Does the CDC Recommend?

See your healthcare provider if you have a new skin rash or develop a fever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who may be at high risk of being infected should be vaccinated, such as:

  • Healthcare and public workers
  • People with multiple sexual partners or who have been diagnosed with Monkeypox disease within the last two weeks. 
  • Isolate if infected until blisters heal and scab over 

Although Monkeypox is considered an outbreak, it’s not recommended that everyone get the vaccination at this time.

In conclusion, Monkeypox is highly contiguous and is contained in New York and California at this time. People who travel internationally and are in close contact with infected animals or humans are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Between 5-21 days after exposure, you will produce a fever, then a rash appears. The rash has many stages but starts as red spots on the hands, feet, and face and then spreads to the rest of the body. The CDC recommends vaccinating those at high risk of contracting the virus. If you develop a fever or a rash, seek medical attention. Contact your primary care physician immediately. Although the Monkeypox virus is not initially fatal, it can lead to death.  


References

About Monkeypox

History of Smallpox

Monkeypox: What is it and how can it be prevented?

2022 U.S. Monkeypox Outbreak: 2022 U.S. Map & Case Count

Outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics—what you need to know

Sheana Gray has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in RN Freelance Content Writer.

1 Article   4 Posts

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4 Comment(s)

Rita June Jarvis Isaac

Rita June Jarvis Isaac

Specializes in Education. Has 32 years experience. 22 Posts

Thanks for sharing, I am yet to know whether being infected with Monkey Pox provides a means of immunity to the disease, or can there be re-current infections?

Sheana Gray, BSN, RN

Specializes in RN Freelance Content Writer. Has 2 years experience. 1 Article; 4 Posts

@Rita June Jarvis Isaac good questions. Maybe I'll write a part two to this article addressing concerns like yours. Thank you for reading 🙂

vintagegal

vintagegal, BSN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 3 years experience. 248 Posts

Don’t put hands in mouth like the meme either… but that’s just a good little bit of advice to prevent any illness 😂