Monkeypox: what you need to know about the virus – and how to protect yourself?

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As the monkeypox virus becomes a health problem that Americans seem to be hearing more and more about, what are some of the best practices for avoiding the virus — and is it time to start worrying?

Fox News Digital spoke with Dr. Marc Siegel, a physician and professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, and a Fox News contributor, on the monkeypox virus.

He said the virus is usually not serious, although the rash is “painful” and “can cause scarring,” he said.

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dr. Siegel said no one “should panic” as many people did with the COVID pandemic.

“I think it’s hard to pull together,” said Dr. Siegel about monkey pox. “I would say beware of close contact with people with a rash.”

dr. Marc Siegel spoke to Fox News Digital on Monday, July 25, 2022 about the monkeypox virus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has just declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
(Fox news)

Siegel said health officials still believe “it’s mainly in the men-who-sex-with-men community,” Siegel shared that’s their “main focus” at the moment.

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dr. Siegel stressed that, “given the difficulty of spreading this thing, it won’t be like another COVID.”

“I’m calling for an emergency use authorization for TPOXX [an anti-viral drug]what works,” said Dr. Siegel.

“But you can’t even get it now unless you sign up for a protocol first.”

There are two vaccines for monkeypox, Siegel said, “one that’s the old live virus vaccine — that’s a lot like a smallpox vaccine I had as a kid,” he added.

Monkeypox will “not be like another COVID.”

“There’s a national stock of that and… [it’s] over 100 million doses,” he explained.

“But the problem with that is we don’t really want to give that unless we have a massive outbreak because it’s a live virus vaccine” – and as such it has “side effects”.

There is also an “inactivated” vaccine called JYANNEOS. “That’s the way to go,” said Dr. Siegel.

A 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into a monkeypox outbreak.  This patient showed the appearance of the characteristic rash during his recovery phase.

A 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into a monkeypox outbreak. This patient showed the appearance of the characteristic rash during his recovery phase.
(CDC via AP, File)

The doctor believes that a warning to the gay community is appropriate from health professionals, along with the advice to remain calm.

“Again, we don’t want to panic treating this as COVID,” said Dr. Siegel.

“I’m more concerned about sexual transmission right now,” he said.

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Below you will find some important information and “best practices” when it comes to monkey pox so that everyone can protect themselves as much as possible.

What is monkey pox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox, the CDC notes on its website.

Monkeypox symptoms are milder than smallpox symptoms – and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

The virus is not related to chickenpox, the CDC says. Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in monkeys kept for research.

Why is it called monkey pox?

Despite the name, the source of the disease is unknown.

However, it is possible for African rodents and non-human primates (such as monkeys) to harbor the virus and infect humans, the CDC says on its website.

Good hygiene is important in protecting against monkey pox - hand washing and keeping a healthy distance and washing linen from infected people are also advised.

Good hygiene is important in protecting against monkey pox – hand washing and keeping a healthy distance and washing linen from infected people are also advised.
(iStock)

What are the symptoms of monkey pox?

Symptoms of Monkeypox include headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, fever, back pain, swelling of the lymph nodes, and chills.

Within one to three days, a rash and lesions may also develop, according to the CDC.

What preventive measures can be taken against monkey pox?

The CDC shares many healthy actions we can all take to limit contact and transmission of the disease.

One of these tips: Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people with rashes.

Do not touch or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkey pox.

Do not touch the rash or scabs of someone who has monkey pox.

Do not share eating utensils, plates or cups with someone who has the virus.

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Do not touch or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkey pox.

Wash your hands often with soap and water – or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Isolate at home if you develop monkey pox.  Very close personal contact is one cause of the virus's rapid spread, according to the CDC.

Isolate at home if you develop monkey pox. Very close personal contact is one cause of the virus’s rapid spread, according to the CDC.
(iStock)

If you are in Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread the virus. They are mostly rodents and primates.

Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as the bedding or anything else they’ve touched, the CDC noted.

What do you do if you get monkey pox?

Isolate at home. Very close personal contact is another cause of the rapid spread of the virus.

If you have an active rash or other symptoms, “if possible, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with,” the CDC noted.

“I’m going to follow my COVID protocols to stay protected from monkeypox,” a human resources professional from Kensington, Maryland — who recently recovered from COVID — told Fox News Digital after learning about the CDC’s best practices.

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“I have COVID fatigue, but I also have common sense habits that I’ve also picked up from it, which I will continue,” she noted.

“Wash your hands, keep healthy distances, and improve your household practices — both at home and at work,” she also said.

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