Three years since WHO announced the COVID-19 pandemic, the warning bells are ringing yet again. This time, it’s not from China, but a new viral disease that has its roots in Central and West Africa.

Although known for decades, Monkeypox has been spreading rapidly and quietly in regions never reported before. This prompted WHO on 23rd July 2022 to declare it a “public health emergency of international concern”.

But what exactly is Monkeypox? How worried should we be? And, is it likely to trigger another Corona-like pandemic?

While new information about Monkeypox is still emerging, we’ve collected information from the World Health Organization and Central for Disease Control (CDC) to answer some common questions you might have about the disease.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes lesions on the skin that often looks like pus-filled pimples or blisters. It is a mild illness caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus, a close relative to the now eradicated and more severe smallpox virus.

Is the disease deadly?

A silver lining in the outbreak is that the disease is not as severe as smallpox. It is also not as contagious as COVID-19. Outbreaks, therefore, tend to be small because the virus does not spread at a fast rate.

Unlike smallpox, monkeypox is also rarely fatal. The disease has a fatality rate of 3-6% based on recent cases.

What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

According to WHO, symptoms include:

·         Symptoms

·         Headache

·         Fever

·         Back aches and muscle aches

·         Chills

·         Exhaustion

·         Swollen lymph nodes

Typically, symptoms appear 6 to 13 days after infection but can take as long as 21 days. Severe symptoms can occur among children or patients with underlying health issues.

How does Monkeypox spread?

The monkeypox virus spreads through direct contact with skin lesions or bodily fluids from an infected person or animal.

Although the vast majority of cases have been recorded in gay communities in the U.S, the CDC notes the disease cannot be categorized as a sexually transmitted disease. It can spread through any form of sexual contact and physical contact.

Is it treatable?


No specific treatment has been approved for the illness but several antiviral medicines have proven to be effective. For example, tecovirimat, cidofovir and brincidofovir. Vaccination also helps in preventing the spread of the illness.

For anyone who has come in close contact with the virus, it is recommended that you visit a health care provider right away for treatment.

Just how worried should we be?

Hirsch, an infectious disease doctor in New York, says -not so much. The likelihood that the disease will progress to a worldwide epidemic is low. We “have medications and therapies to prevent the already low risk of aggressive infection,” Hirsch comments on Webmd.

Aaron Glatt, MD at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside also says “Worry is unnecessary, but concern by physicians and public health officials is important,.”

How can you protect your staff and customers?

According to the CDC, there are a few ways you can prevent the spread of the monkeypox virus. They include.

a. Practicing good hand hygiene, washing hands frequently with soap and water as well as using hand sanitizers

b. Using personal protective equipment when caring for infected patients

c. Avoiding contact with items that might have been contacting with the patient or animal with the monkeypox virus  

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