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Everything You Need to Know About the Monkeypox Outbreak in 2022
Here's the Breakdown on Monkeypox:
The LGBTQ+ community has been very concerned about the growing monkeypox outbreak of 2022, but many people still don't know what this disease is all about, how to avoid it, and what the available treatment options are.
Ever since people initially dismissed COVID-19 as something serious and ended up surprised by the never-ending pandemic that followed its outbreak, certain individuals are trying to get ahead of the monkeypox outburst of 2022 before it's too late. Despite the fact that monkeypox isn't necessarily a "gay virus," it has impacted a significant portion of the LGBTQ+ community during this initial spread of the disease around the world.
As such, it is important to break down what monkeypox is, how it spreads, how it can be avoided, and how it can be treated if one does get exposed to the virus. Thankfully, science is way ahead of treating and understanding monkeypox in comparison to COVID-19, which is great news.
What Is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral disease with symptoms that include rashes, red blisters, and swollen lymph nodes. This disease was first identified in animals in the 1950s but has since mutated to affect humans as well. Monkeypox can cause fever and other flu-like symptoms during its infection period in people. According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox has a fatality rate that ranges from zero to 11 percent.
Explaining the Monkeypox Outbreak of 2022
Some publications have linked the monkeypox outbreak of 2022 to certain Pride events taking place in Europe. But just like any other virus, monkeypox is not exclusive to the LGBTQ+ community. However, it did mostly affect queer people first during this 2022 resurgence of the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 351 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States as of this writing -- the largest numbers being 80 in California, 72 in New York, 46 in Illinois, and 35 in Florida.
How You Can Get Monkeypox (& How to Avoid It)
The CDC has listed a few main methods of transmission for monkeypox: "direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids; respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex; touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids; pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta." In other words, monkeypox can be transmitted between sexual partners and/or by simply touching someone's body or belongings if that person has been infected. However, it is not found in semen or vaginal secretions, so condom use will not prevent transmission.
The Vaccine Against Monkeypox
Fortunately, this new monkeypox outbreak isn't starting from zero when it comes to treatment and prevention options, which was one of the main problems associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the CDC has noted that "because [the] monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting monkeypox. Past data from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox." Thus, for the time being, smallpox vaccines are being administered with a high success rate for preventing transmission of the virus or assuring that if the recipient still contracts it, their symptoms will be less severe. The federal government Tuesday announced an expansion of vaccine distribution. If someone does contract monkeypox, it usually subsides within two to four weeks and can be managed with pain medication. But more severe cases may call for treatment with TPOXX, a prescription drug that is also used against smallpox. People with weakened immune systems due to HIV or another cause are at risk for severe symptoms.
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