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On July 23rd, 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the current monkeypox outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), an “extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”. It is the highest level of formal classification the WHO can give to an outbreak. 

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted from animals to humans). It was first discovered in 1958 in captive monkeys in Denmark, hence the name. It is usually transmitted through rodents and is suspected to be the source of the current outbreak. Symptoms usually present as a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash with blisters that then crust over. The time between exposure and onset of symptoms is 5 to 21 days. Symptoms usually last 2 to 4 weeks. Children, pregnant people, and immuno-compromised people are more likely to experience severe symptoms, including death. 

Like with all poxviruses, it is transmitted through close physical contact – skin-to-skin, bodily fluids, and respiratory droplets at close range, though it doesn’t spread through air over long distances. The virus belongs to the Orthopox genus, which also houses the smallpox virus. There is no known cure for monkeypox as of now, however, a study in 1988 found that the smallpox vaccine has proven to be 85% effective against monkeypox, and lessens the severity.

At the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, a lot of misinformation was going around, and the same is happening with the 2022 monkeypox outbreak. It is important to keep yourself updated on the latest information from trusted sources, such as the WHO and the CDC. Last Week Tonight recently did a segment on the virus explaining how we mismanaged the start of the outbreak, leading to the current situation, and how to stay safe. So keep yourself informed, and stay safe. 

By Bianca Fernandez, 12 F

Posted by cmradmin

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