Monkeypox, Explained: 7 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Monkeypox Right Now

Last weekend, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global public health emergency. Strangely, the immediate reaction from a section of Twitter users was anger and disdain.

See for yourself: WHO tweet have a ratiowith many accusing the organization of being homophobic, calls back to the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. This story has recently come to the fore: The focus on the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. LGBTQ+ people more broadly, and more specifically gays, in the way we talk about monkeypox is similar to homophobia, and it shows we’re not learning anything. from the HIV/AIDS crisis.

But while the US government has yet to declare the condition a public health emergency (thus allowing state health departments to withhold their data from the CDC if they so choose), a UK government reports show that 97% of cases are gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men—“GBMSM” in public health terminology. Similarly, a study published recently in New England Journal of Medicine showed that 98% of affected people were GBMSM. So how do we end up here, where efforts focused on those currently most affected by monkeypox are seen as homophobic?

As a quirky writer and a strange infectious disease doctor (who patiently answered every writer’s question about monkeypox), we wanted to provide some information for anyone. Anyone still confused about what’s going on — and explain why the campaign focusing on the strange disease men in response to monkeypox is really opposite of homophobia. But first, some background.

Monkeypox isn’t new, although it may seem like it.

First reported in humans in 1970, monkeypox has been endemic in central and western Africa for decades, with periodic outbreaks occurring in these areas and frequent outbreaks of the disease. Rare, limited outbreaks have been reported outside, mainly directly related to travel.

For current During a global outbreak of monkeypox, the United Kingdom first reported a cluster of 2 cases with no history of travel to endemic areas on 14 May 2022. Since then, it has started to flare up. broadcast globally. As of this week, more than 20,000 cases have been reported in 77 countries. While early cases were sometimes linked to a history of travel to endemic areas, most cases are not now, suggesting widespread community transmission.

One thing that makes monkeypox difficult to contain is that it has a relatively long incubation period – symptoms can take weeks to start to appear – meaning it is possible that the disease is already circulating in communities in the United States. lower level than we know but go undetected.

The virus is largely non-lethal — but it is extremely pain and discomfort.

Historically, smallpox infections in monkeys had a mortality rate of 3 to 10%. It is reassuring that in the current outbreak, which can be traced back to a milder degree of the two endemic strains, only 5 deaths have been reported as of this week.

But the low mortality rate does not mean there is no cause for concern, as monkeypox infection is characterized by a wide range of symptoms. Ninety-five percent of patients reported skin lesions – frequently on the genitals and anus, as well as the face and trunk – and nearly half had ulcerative lesions in the mouth or rectum. Most patients also have fever, fatigue, night sweats, and accompanying swollen lymph nodes. Although some report milder symptoms, for a large number of patients the lesions are extremely painful, especially internal lesions that make swallowing, urinating or defecating very difficult. towel. Most patients hospitalized with monkeypox seek relief. Monkeypox, Explained: 7 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Monkeypox Right Now

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