What is monkeypox and how can you avoid it

Monkeypox is here
How do you get monkeypox?
skin to skin
Can you get monkeypox from touching surfaces?
Don't panic
Very unlikely to get infected by opening a door
Key difference between monkeypox and Covid-19
Reducing monkeypox risk
Crowds are a problem
More questions than answers
Fluid exchange
Plubic transport is safe
Danger in the classroom?
Safe for now
Monkeypox and the gay panic
Quarantine at the slightest suspicion
Low mortality but...
Keep calm
Monkeypox is here

Monkeypox has set off all the alarms around the globe. The World Health Organization has warned about the rapid expansion of the virus in Europe and the United States, being responsible for several deaths. However, there are many myths and rumors around monkeypox that are important to dispel.

How do you get monkeypox?

How do you get infected? After all, monkeypox is different from coronavirus. Close contact is necessary for contagion to occur. The WHO has stated that “it spreads from person to person through direct contact with someone who has a skin rash of monkeypox”.

skin to skin

It is through close physical contact (skin to skin, kissing, making love) that the risk of infection is highest. The skin rash sores are the most likely source of infection.

Can you get monkeypox from touching surfaces?

The World Health Organization assumes that contagion can occur “when an infectious person touches clothing, bedding, towels, objects, electronics, and surfaces. Someone else who touches these items can then become infected.  It is also possible to become infected from breathing in skin flakes or virus from clothing, bedding, or towels. This is known as fomite transmission”.

Don't panic

However, many experts believe that the risk of getting monkeypox through objects or clothing is relatively little. The epidemiologist Saskia Popescu, consulted by The New York Times, stated that  “personally, I’m less concerned with trying clothing on in the store”.

Image: Burgess Milner/Unplash

Very unlikely to get infected by opening a door

Likewise, according to the experts consulted by The New York Times, it is unlikely to become infected by opening a door or touching an object with a non-porous surface.

Image: Super Snapper / Unsplash

Key difference between monkeypox and Covid-19

Although the WHO agrees that is possible for the virus to spread through droplets from skin rashes, unlike the coronavirus, airborne transmission is not possible except in short-range cases.

Reducing monkeypox risk

The risk of infection from short-range droplets or spread from the air reduces if we keep a distance from infected individuals (at least 10 feet or about three meters) and wear proper face masks.

Crowds are a problem

Of course, large gatherings with massive crowds such as concerts and parties are places where the risk of catching monkeypox increases.

Image: Yvette de Wit/Unsplash

More questions than answers

In any case, the WHO admits that “possible mechanisms of transmission through the air for monkeypox are not yet well understood and studies are underway to learn more”.

Fluid exchange

It also has to be yet scientifically proven that fluids exchanged while making love can carry the virus.

Plubic transport is safe

With this information, plus given the percentage of infected people, we can infer that using public transportation carries little to no risk, along with other activities such as going to the movies or attending a sporting event.

Image: Eddi Aguirre / Unsplash

Danger in the classroom?

Something similar happens with concerns about schools and colleges. You can't get infected by sitting at a desk that has been used by someone with monkeypox.

Image: MChe Lee / Unsplash

Safe for now

Of course, everything depends on how the disease evolves. If monkeypox continues to spread and the number of cases grows, more stringent safety measures will be necessary.

Monkeypox and the gay panic

It's important to highlight that, despite some voices in the media have said, monkeypox is not exclusive to gay and bisexual men. The virus can affect all people equally, and there are reports of many women and children getting monkeypox.

Quarantine at the slightest suspicion

Monkeypox spreads through ulcers, wounds, and sores. That's why, at the slightest suspicion, it's better to be in quarantine, limit contact as much as possible, and wait to do the relevant test.

Low mortality but...

The mortality rate for monkeypox is low, with the World Health Organization claiming that it doesn't even pass the 1% of cases. However, it's not clear how many cases would we be talking about if it becomes a global pandemic.

Keep calm

We can't do much, except trust in science. Vaccines (the traditional smallpox vaccine) are already being administered to some groups. Universal vaccination, as has happened with Covid-19, wouldn't be out of the question to protect the general population from monkeypox.

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