A male hands affected by blistering rash because of monkeypox or other viral infection on white background
Nearly 5,000 people in the U.S. are reported to have Monkeypox. But 20,000 people have it in seventy-five countries. The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a public health emergency that needs an international response so it doesn’t become a pandemic like Covid.
What Monkeypox Is And What It Isn’t
The World Health Organization calls it a disease. Monkeypox is an orthopox virus whereas chickenpox is a herpes virus. It is not airborne like Covid. It’s a virus that has not killed anyone in the United States and has some genetic similarities to smallpox.
It is not as serious as smallpox that has killed significant numbers. Most cases are mild and self-limiting and resolve itself without treatment.
Monkeypox’s skin rash or lesions can appear anywhere on your body, including the groin, anus, or genital region. Sometimes, the rash stays in one spot where it started instead of spreading, according to Esther E. Freeman, M.D., member of the American Academy of Dermatology’s Monkeypox Task Force.
How Do You Get IT?
Monkeypox can spread to anyone, including children, through close personal, often skin-to-skin contact. An infected person can transmit through a monkeypox rash, scabs, and body fluids. It can be transmitted sexually. Animals can transmit to humans as well. Contact with objects, surfaces, fabrics that are contaminated with the virus such as clothing, bedding or towels can spread the infection.
How Do You Feel With Monkeypox? What Are The Symptoms?
The infection begins with an incubation period. A person is not contagious during this incubation period of roughly 1-2 weeks. It’s possible to feel fine during this period. Some people get a rash first, then symptoms. Some only get the rash.
Once you have symptoms, you may experience:
- Chills, nighttime sweating
- Lesions may itch, but hurt in private areas.
- Back aches
- Sore Throats
- Swollen lymph nodes in the head, neck or genital area
The rash may last anywhere from 7 to 14 days or 5 to 21 day
What Can A Doctor Do For You?
No specific treatment is approved for it. A doctor can diagnose by looking at skin patterns and where rash appears. Then the M.D. can swab the area and send it to a lab.
You have to wait until all the lesions are fully healed and new skin has grown before you’re NOT contagious. This can take as long as a month.
To date, the U.S. had administered more than 300,000 doses of a vaccine. It has ordered millions more doses to be delivered through early 2023 as the world clamors to obtain the vaccine called Jynneos. Bavarian Nordic A/S is the world’s sole supplier of a licensed vaccine for monkeypox.
Anti-virals that were developed for use in patients with smallpox may work: One is Brincidofovrir that was approved in 2021. The other treatment was also developed for smallpox and is called Tecovirimat. The latter is held by the CDC for “compassionate use” during an outbreak. It’s available in a pill or an injection.
Sources: Newswise, July 28, 2022; https://www.cdc.gov>monkeypox>transmission;https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-monkeypox; https:// New York Times/7/30/2022, “Demystifying Monkeypox;” https:// Wall St. Journal/7/29/2022/ “What to Know About the Monkeypox Outbreak in the U.S.”
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.