New York City has become the second major U.S. city after San Francisco to declare a state of emergency due to the rise of monkeypox cases: “New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure.”
With the country and the world still feeling the economic/social/personal effects of one pandemic, is there another one on the way? I don’t know, having no special training in epidemiology, but have tried to peruse some reliable sources to find out what I could, and share this information for your examination. I will paste in a general page from a UC Davis article, then conclude with a CDC snip on transmission details.
It seems that monkeypox typically takes pretty close physical contact (especially with skin, body fluids, or e.g. towels/clothing) to spread, with having multiple romantic partners being a high risk factor. This is the opposite of COVID transmission, where just being in the same room puts you at high risk. However, as with COVID, someone can be contagious in the early stages before they show obvious symptoms. Based on all this, my guess is that monkeypox will not spread in the general population very much, but it will spread significantly in some groups and locales. But that is just my guess.
From UC Davis “Monkeypox: What you need to know about this rare virus”:
What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox? At what point is it infectious?
Monkeypox starts with fever, then general body aches, malaise, and muscle aches. with the first symptoms are similar to influenza. Those usually precede the development of a rash. You have probably seen photos of the rash. It’s really hard to miss. It starts as macules, which are flat lesions. Then it forms a firm nodule. From there, it becomes a blister, then a pustule (a blister containing pus) and then it scabs over.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incubation period (The time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7 to 14 days, but it can range from 5 to 21 days.
People may be contagious at the early signs of fever and stay infectious through the rash until the skin scabs and heals over.
How is it transmitted?
Monkeypox is transmitted through close person-to-person contact with lesions, body fluids and respiratory droplets, and through contaminated materials such as clothing or bedding. [[ see more on transmission below]]
Can you die from monkeypox?
Most people with monkeypox will recover on their own. But 5% of people with monkeypox die. It appears that the current strain causes less severe disease. The mortality rate is about 1% with the current strain….
What are the treatments for monkeypox? Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?
The smallpox vaccine has some cross protection against monkeypox. The vaccine is being made available through public health for people who have had contact with confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox. If the vaccine is given within four days of exposure, it protects about 85% of the time. Even if the vaccine is given up to two weeks after exposure, it may modify the disease, making it less severe.
In addition, there are some antivirals and immunoglobulins that are available to treat monkeypox.
Is there a way to test for monkeypox?
If a health care provider suspects that a patient has been exposed to monkeypox, they can get a sample of a lesion and send it to the state for testing. If it turns out positive, the result will be confirmed at the CDC.
From CDC “How It Spreads”:
Monkeypox spreads in a few ways.
- Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
- This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.
- Hugging, massage, and kissing.
- Prolonged face-to-face contact.
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
- A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.