Everything you need to know about monkeypox
While the COVID-19 pandemic still has the world on its toes, monkeypox starts to appear in different countries across the globe. Mexico confirmed its first case in May 2022 – Argentina was the first-ever Latin American country to report a monkeypox case.
Monkeypox was detected in 24 countries and has affected thousands of people (mainly in Europe). The virus is not dangerous, and in most cases, patients recover even without any medical treatment within 2-4 weeks. However, the virus can be deadly for patients with severe symptoms if left unattended, especially for those who are living in areas with inadequate health care systems.
The disease is transmitted through human contact or exhaled respiratory droplets during extended close contact. In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, you will learn more about monkeypox, how it spreads, and everything you can do to protect yourself.
What is monkeypox?
According to the CDC, the disease was first discovered in 1958 in monkey colonies confined to research, hence the name monkeypox. It is a viral infection commonly found in West and Central Africa.
The virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes:
- Variola virus, which causes smallpox.
- Vaccinia virus – used in the smallpox vaccine.
- Cowpox virus.
Monkeypox is now called mpox
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced mpox as the preferred term for monkeypox in November 2022. Since the latest outbreak, scientists and experts have been asking for a name change so that there won’t be stigma or discrimination that could cause people to avoid getting tested or vaccinated. Both terms will be used simultaneously for one year while the term ‘monkeypox’ gets phased out, though it will still be searchable in the International Classification of Diseases.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
The virus that causes monkeypox is related to smallpox but is milder and not as lethal in comparison. The common symptoms of monkeypox are:
- Muscle ache
- Swelling in lymph nodes
- Rash on the face – could spread to the rest of the body
What is the treatment for monkeypox?
The effects of the virus are generally not severe and people recover within a few weeks without any medical supervision. While there is no dedicated treatment for curing the disease yet, it can be controlled with the smallpox vaccine, cidofovir, ST-246, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG).
If you have severe symptoms, seek medical help immediately. Your medical practitioner will be able to decide which treatment plans work best for you.
How is monkeypox transmitted?
In West and Central Africa, monkeypox is spread through rodents (i.e. rats, mice, squirrels, etc.). However, the virus is transmitted from one human to another in different ways, such as:
- Skin contact with someone with a rash
- Touching items that infected people used
- Inhaling particles that the patient releases during a cough or sneeze
Since the infection can be transmitted through close contact, it’s essential to isolate yourself if you are diagnosed with it. You may be asked to quarantine at home if the symptoms are mild. On the other hand, if your symptoms are severe, you may need to stay in hospital care until you recover.
How to protect yourself from monkeypox?
There are many ways you can protect yourself from contracting the virus. The CDC released a list of a few measures that can prevent the spread of the virus:
- Avoid contact with animals that could be carrying the virus, especially animals found sick or dead in areas where monkeypox is diagnosed.
- Do not touch dishes/bowls and cloths used by sick animals.
- Do not touch towels and other domestic materials used by someone with the virus.
- Use a PPE while taking care of someone with the virus.
- Maintain personal hygiene, keep your surroundings clean, wash your hands with soap and water, and sanitize frequently.
- Only consume meat that is thoroughly cooked.
If you don’t have health insurance, now is a good time to secure one. Make sure to get both inpatient and outpatient benefits. If you want to know more about the available plans in your country, get in touch with a Pacific Prime Latin America expert.
About Pacific Prime Latin America
Pacific Prime Latin America is a global insurance broker with over 20 years of experience. Whether you are looking for expat, family, or travel health insurance, our team of experts will be able to advise you on finding an insurance plan that best fits your needs and budget.
Contact us today to get a free quote!