Chances are you’ve heard about Monkeypox, the latest virus to hit the scene. And don’t worry, in case you’re not entirely sure what Monkeypox is—or how concerned you should be about the outbreak—we got you covered.
Since May, 1,972 Monkeypox cases have been reported in 43 states across the U.S. (and Puerto Rico) with more than 13,000 confirmed cases worldwide, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What exactly is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease with similar symptoms to smallpox. I know what you’re probably thinking: Isn’t smallpox a super deadly disease from the 1800’s? It is. But here’s the really good news: Monkeypox is much milder, rarely fatal, and contrary to popular belief, completely unrelated to chickenpox.
Those infected with Monkeypox begin experiencing symptoms 7-14 days after exposure and can remain infectious for weeks. As far as symptoms go, people report that it feels like the flu with fever, muscle aches, chills, and fatigue being the most common symptoms. However, monkeypox is most famous—err, infamous—for the unsightly rash that usually presents on the face and genitals.
But don’t worry, the body will usually completely heal itself of Monkeypox in 2-4 weeks.
Does it spread?
Yes, but not easily… unless you’re in very, very close, intimate person-to-person contact.1 This makes the overall threat of monkeypox spreading to the general U.S. population pretty low, and is likely why the World Health Organization (WHO) has yet to declare it a global health emergency.
Is there a treatment for Monkeypox?
There is a monkeypox vaccine, and per the CDC, when given within 4 days of exposure, it can prevent the disease, and if given up to 2 weeks after exposure, possibly lessen symptoms. However, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases isn’t so sure, calling the effectiveness of the vaccines unproven.
Regardless, there are antiviral medications that treat smallpox that may help treat monkeypox.
Do I need a monkeypox vaccine?
Despite the threat of contracting Monkeypox still being pretty low, efforts to vaccinate those who suspect they have come into contact with someone with monkeypox along with certain healthcare personnel have begun. Also, the White House administration has started shipping monkeypox tests to commercial laboratories to expand testing capabilities.
If you have any symptoms of monkeypox, even if you don’t think you have been in contact with someone infected, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Have questions? A great source of information is your local community pharmacist. Check out our directory to find the closest pharmacy near you.