How monkeypox spreads and why current cases are something “we’ve never seen”

The monkeypox virus is inflicting concern amongst world well being specialists. While the sickness is never seen outdoors Africa, the World Health Organization is reporting more than 90 cases in 12 countries beyond the continent.

So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s one confirmed case in the U.S., in Boston, studies CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook. There have additionally been suspected cases in Broward County, Florida, and New York City.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus present in wild animals like rodents and monkeys. When it infects individuals, signs embrace:

  • fever
  • headache
  • aches and pains
  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes

Within a number of days, a typical rash develops, that progresses to raised blisters that flip into scabs. Illness normally lasts 2-4 weeks.

For now, particular assessments carried out on the CDC are wanted for definitive analysis.

How is it unfold?

The virus is unfold by way of physique fluids, pores and skin and respiratory droplets. “It’s important to know that this virus really does require close personal contact,” mentioned Dr. Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology on the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She advised LaPook that we are seeing cases occurring in a number of international locations on the identical time: “We’ve never seen that.”

Those cases resemble a milder model present in West Africa. But in areas with restricted entry to healthcare, that milder model can nonetheless be deadly, the morality rate being “between one and three, 3.5 percent in an African setting,” mentioned Rimoin.

In the United States, throughout a 2003 outbreak of monkeypox attributable to an imported African rodent, 47 individuals turned unwell, however no person died.

Monkeypox Lesions
Close-up of monkeypox lesions on the arms of a affected person within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Courtesy CDC/Mahy et al. through Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Are there therapies?

Possible therapies embrace a variation of the smallpox vaccine, antiviral medication and antibodies.

LaPook requested, “Do we have enough smallpox vaccine? Do we have enough diagnostic ability?”

“We definitely have enough vaccine, and we definitely have access to the antivirals and the treatments that are needed,” Rimoin replied.

“CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King requested LaPook, “How concerned should we be about monkeypox?”

“This should be taken seriously, and it is being taken seriously by public health officials,” LaPook mentioned. “But remember, this is very different than COVID. When the pandemic started, SARS CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID, we knew nothing about it, it was a brand new virus. We had no therapeutics, we had no vaccines, we didn’t know anything about that disease. 

“This may be very completely different. We’ve recognized about monkeypox for greater than 60 years. There are vaccines, there are therapeutics, we now have a whole lot of expertise coping with it, actually in Africa.” 

Also, he noted, “At the start of the pandemic, it was spreading with out individuals realizing it; they had been asymptomatic. [Monkeypox] has a attribute rash. It can be arduous for it to unfold extensively with out us figuring out about it.” 

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