Monkeypox has been making the news as the virus is popping up more and more across the world. As there have been cases in New York, this article can serve as a guide for senior citizens, who may be concerned about this new outbreak.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus that is similar to the smallpox virus. Generally, it is a less severe virus than smallpox. It is called monkeypox because it was discovered in monkeys in the 1950s, but it is spread by rodents native to West and Central Africa. The first case in humans was recorded in 1970. There are 2 main strains of monkeypox. The Congo Basin strain is more severe than the West African strain. Thankfully, the current outbreak is from the less severe West African strain.
What are the Symptoms of Monkeypox?
The symptoms of monkeypox begin with fever and the swelling of the lymph nodes. After a few days, the infected person will develop a rash similar to that of chickenpox. After a week or 2, the pox will crust over and the individual will begin to recover. However, monkeypox has a mortality rate of 1%. While monkeypox deaths in the developed world are rare, it is especially important to seek treatment if you are infected. This is especially important for the elderly and immunocompromised individuals.
How Does it Spread?
Monkeypox can spread in a variety of ways. Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or bodily fluids can spread the virus. These fluids can spread the virus if they linger on other surfaces, including clothing or bedsheets. Prolonged, face-to-face contact can spread the virus through respiratory secretions. Additionally, intimate physical contact such as kissing or sexual activity can also spread the virus. Lastly, pregnant individuals can spread the virus to the fetus via the placenta.
Monkeypox can also spread from animals to humans. Generally, this occurs through bites or scratches. Additionally, eating contaminated products such as meat can also spread it.
How is it Treated?
Monkeypox has a long incubation period, about 1 to 2 weeks. This gives doctors a good chance to treat and reduce spreading after you are made aware of the infection. If you come in contact with someone who has monkeypox, a doctor can provide vaccination and antiviral treatments to effectively fight the virus before it takes effect. This method of treating patients who have been exposed, known as the ring vaccination method, is how we eradicated smallpox in the US. It is an effective strategy for this type of virus.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical, healthcare, or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
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SafeHarbor is working 24 hours to continue providing safe and quality home care services during this outbreak. Let us know if we can help you during these difficult times. Information regarding monkeypox is changing daily. For more up-to-date information, check the CDC and WHO websites.