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What is Monkeypox? Are we heading towards another pandemic?

Philadelphia - U.S health officials have now declared Monkeypox a public health emergency on Saturday, 30 July, to combat the current outbreak, which began in May.

Last week, San Francisco was the first U.S. city to declare an emergency to fight the monkeypox outbreak.

According to the CDC, As of July 2022, Pennsylvania now has 161 confirmed monkeypox cases, among the most in any single U.S. state.


What is Monkeypox? 

Monkeypox, According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, "is a viral disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox but milder, and are rarely fatal." 

The virus was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named "monkeypox," the source of the infection remains unknown. 

"The first human case of Monkeypox was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Before the 2022 outbreak, Monkeypox had only been reported in people in several central and western African countries."


Is Monkeypox the same as COVID-19?

Although Monkeypox is not a new virus and has been declared a public emergency, there are some fundamental differences between Monkeypox and COVID-19. 

First, Monkeypox does not spread easily. The virus does not transmit easily, says Dr. Amy Edwards of University Hospitals Babies & Children's pediatric. 

Dr. Edwards says, "Unlike COVID-19, this virus doesn't transmit human to human very efficiently. It's also much easier to isolate infected individuals and prevent the spread."

Second, There are two vaccines that are effective against Monkeypox. Health officials say JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000 are used against smallpox and made available for use against Monkeypox under an Expanded Access Investigational New Drug application and are FDA approved.


How to stay safe? 

As Monkeypox spreads this summer, here are some tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones from the virus. 

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after using the bathroom.

  • Avoid touching surfaces with fingertips. Your fingertips are the part of your hand most likely to touch your nose or mouth. Instead, use an object such as a pen, or your knuckle, to press an elevator button—open doors with an elbow or the back of a hand. 

  • Do not touch anyone who looks to have pox-like symptoms, such as an unexplained rash that develops into hard, round, fluid, or pus-filled skin lesions.

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Tags: pandemic virus vaccines Monkeypox


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