Monkeypox Update

By Faith Gonia

Since May of 2022, a new wave of the monkeypox virus has circulated globally. This highly contagious, but generally non-life-threatening disease has affected just under one hundred countries. Distinctly countries that had no recorded cases prior to this year’s outbreak experienced a rapid increase. Experts now say cases may have peaked during mid-August, as data currently shows a slight global decline. However, due to health professionals’ incomplete understanding of the disease itself, many recommend still remaining cautious and getting the vaccine if exposed.

The virus initially presents itself, although symptoms vary from person to person, through flu-like symptoms that later develop into an extensive pimple-like rash. An individual with monkeypox remains contagious for the duration of the illness – typically two to four weeks. Unlike Covid-19 though, monkeypox is not an airborne disease, and most who acquire the virus will not reach the point of requiring medical treatment. Monkeypox can spread through close or intimate contact with an infected individual, as well as contact with surfaces and fabrics contaminated with the virus. 

While statistics show that a majority of cases reside in queer men, the CDC reminds the public that monkeypox, like any other disease, spreads solely based on exposure, and that risk levels are not dependent upon sexual orientation. 

If you develop or someone close to you develops symptoms, contact a healthcare provider and notify any close contacts. Contrary to popular worry, monkeypox is not the new Coronavirus. Signs can easily be identified, and the virus is far more difficult to spread. Regardless, following proper hygiene and taking precautions cannot do more harm than good, especially as we approach flu season coming out of a global pandemic.