A second person has died from monkeypox in California, less than a month after the first death in Texas. The authorities are unsure whether the virus is officially the cause of death, but they are investigating it. Out of all states in America, California currently holds the most reported cases.
President Joe Biden‘s administration, after seeing the 21,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States, decided to speed up its vaccine distribution plan by announcing 1.8 million more doses of Jynneos monkeypox vaccines on August 18. Then, a few days later on August 22, an additional 360,000 vials were allocated to jurisdictions that are under phase 4 of the National Monkeypox Vaccine Strategy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a new program for gay and bisexual men, who have previously been severely affected by the virus. “HHS is launching a pilot program that will provide up to 50,000 doses from the national stockpile to be made available for pride and other events that will have high attendance of gay and bisexual men,” Bob Fenton, the monkeypox response coordinator in the White House, said in a statement.
The Biden administration declared a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak on August 4. In a statement, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “Ending the monkeypox outbreak is a critical priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. We are taking our response to the next level by declaring a public health emergency.”
Fenton said that the public health emergency declaration would allow them to explore strategies so they can distribute vaccines and treatments more quickly to impacted communities, as well as get more data from jurisdictions in order to track and attack the outbreak. It seems that’s what happened with an additional 1.8 million doses being made available.
Despite these criticisms, some public health professionals argue the current US epidemic is being mishandled — and is mirroring the start of COVID-19.
“The CDC, the FDA, and all of it — they haven’t learned a single lesson from Covid,” AIDS activist and PrEP4All creator Peter Staley told The Guardian. “They haven’t spent the time to make sure that they don’t repeat those mistakes, because all of them have been repeated.” Find out more about monkeypox, including symptoms, treatments, and vaccine alternatives in the sections below.
What Is Monkeypox?
Monkeys are considered the natural host of monkeypox, although humans can also be infected. Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that has been reported mostly in Central and West Africa’s remote regions. When people go to those areas, monkeys are usually the source of infection.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that belongs to the family of pox viruses, which includes smallpox and cowpox. The virus known as Monkeypox was initially discovered in 1958 among research monkeys (which is where the disease gets its name from), but these animals aren’t often major carriers. Rodents, such as rats or squirrels, are the most common hosts. Those that trap or kill such species, which are known carriers, face a higher risk of disease.
The virus first infected animals before humans; the earliest documented human case dates back to 1970 and was a 9-year-old boy living in an isolated area of Congo.
What Are the Symptoms of Monkeypox?
The CDC reports that monkeypox causes symptoms similar to smallpox, but they are milder and include:
However, the symptoms of monkeypox are now arriving and appearing differently than in the past. The typical early indicators of monkeypox include a fever, enlarged lymph glands, discomfort, and muscular pains that progress to a rash with hard lesions that spread from the face and mouth to the hands and feet at the CDC.
A rash has been observed in previous US monkeypox cases, although it typically begins in the genital or anal area and can also spread to the mouth. Lesions have also begun to spread beyond the face, hands, or feet.
Additionally, “symptoms including fever, malaise, headache, and lymphadenopathy [swollen lymph nodes] have not always occurred before the rash if they have occurred at all,” per the CDC.
What’s new is that some recent US patients have reported pain in and around the anus and rectum, tenesmus (or the sensation that you need to pa**a a bowel movement when your bowels are empty), and rectal bleeding. “None of those symptoms were commonly associated with monkeypox before,” stated NBC.
“Any patient who meets the suspected case definition should be counseled to implement appropriate transmission precautions,” according to the CDC’s updated recommendations.
Patients who are suspected and confirmed to have been infected with HSV must stay in isolation for the duration of the infectious period (i.e., until all sores have healed, scabs have fallen off, and a new layer of fresh skin has formed). Patients who do not need to be hospitalized but who are still contagious to others should stay at home.
According to the CDC, people with monkeypox should avoid contact with others and wear appropriate clothing to prevent spreading the disease.
How Is Monkeypox Spread?
Monkeypox is most often spread through a bite or scratch received from an infected animal.
People with the virus can pa**ion it to others through saliva from coughing or by making contact with pus from the rash’s lesions. The virus can also be transmitted via contaminated items such as clothing or bedding.
However, recent research indicates a new potential source of exposure: sex. Because it can be transmitted through physical contact with bodily fluids, Dr.
Susan Hopkins, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency’s chief medical adviser, said that gay and bisexual men should be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and contact a sexual health service as soon as possible.
According to the CDC, anyone can spread monkeypox, regardless of sexual orientation, through contact with body fluids ormonkeypox sores (such as shared clothing and bedding that have been contaminated with fluids), or respiratory droplets in close proximity (like within the same household).
Scientists are concerned because the cases in each country do not seem to be connected. If there are other methods of transmission that we don’t know about, the virus could spread faster than we can control it.
What Is Monkeypox Treatment?
The only available drug to treat monkeypox, tecovirimat or Tpoxx, is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain as bureaucratic barriers make it more complicated for doctors to attain the drug. The New York Times reported that compared to untreated monkeypox which lesion symptoms last two tot our weeks, Tpoxx melts away skin lesions within a day.
Though usually not deadly,one in tenmonkeypoxpatients will succumb to the disease, unfortunately. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those with more severe cases are typically children.
Is There a Monkeypox Vaccine?
There is no separate vaccine for monkeypox, but the smallpox vaccination can be effective in preventing and even treating monkeypox after a person has been infected, according to CDC guidelines. However, because smallpox was eradicated many years ago, countries stopped vaccinating children against it. This means that younger generations who have not received the smallpox vaccine are also not immune to monkey pox.
Do I Need a Monkeypox Vaccine?
Before the current vaccination campaign was announced, immunizations were only given to those who had been exposed to the virus.
The US is now planning a vaccination campaign to offer the monkeypox vaccine to anyone who has had or may have been exposed to the virus.
This will include anyone “who had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, those who know their sexual partner was diagnosed with monkeypox, and men who have nudewith men who have recently had multiple nudepartners in a venue where there was known to be monkeypox or in an area where monkeypox is spreading,” according to an HHS statement.
The CDC anticipates that at the end of the year, 1.6 million doses will be given in the United States. The shot will be given in two injections, 28 days apart.
How Concerned Should I Be About Monkeypox?
According to the Biden administration announcement, monkeypox is now considered a public health emergency, which sparks concern about its potential global spread. It’s essential to remember that anyone- not just men who engage in sex with other men- can develop monkeypox through exposure and skin-to-skin contact.
The CDC advised, “People who may have symptoms of monkeypox, such as unknown rashes or lesions, should contact their healthcare provider for assessment.”
Anyone who has new lesions owing to chickenpox, herpes, or syphilis should be examined for monkeypox as well, according to the CDC.
People at risk for monkeypox include those who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with the illness, been in close proximity to others within a social network experiencingmonkey pox infections, and travelers returning from countries where monkeypox has been reported. Furthermore, people exhibiting flu-like symptoms coupled with any of the aforementioned risks should self-quarantine immediately. According to the CDC, if a rash does not appear within five days of initial symptoms appearing, it is unlikely that the person has contracted monkeypox.
Timothy is a senior writer based in Atlanta, specializing in celebrity-related news. She is always ready to cover trending TV stories with an unbiased perspective and a pinch of gossip.