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How concerned should I be about monkeypox?

After two years of the coronavirus pandemic, another virus is now spreading worldwide. Monkeypox, endemic to certain parts of Africa, is now spreading amongst non-endemic countries such as Spain.

Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, a disease that the WHO declared eradicated in 1980.

 

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare infection that’s mainly found in parts of Africa but has recently spread to Europe and elsewhere. It is of animal origin but transmittable in humans, similar to smallpox but typically milder.

Monkeypox is most often spread by animals, particularly rodents, but this current outbreak seems to be transmitted person-to-person.

 

What are its symptoms?

Symptoms usually take between 5 and 21 days to appear. Most people recover in 2 to 4 weeks.

  • – Fatigue.
  • – Headache.
  • – A high temperature.
  • – Flu-like joint and muscle aches.
  • – Swollen glands including the lymph nodes in the neck area.
  • – A rash usually appears on the face and then spreads over the body (including the genitals).

 

How is it spread?

As mentioned above, monkeypox is often spread by animals. However, this current outbreak outside of Africa seems to be transmitted person-to-person, through:

  • – Contact with bodily fluids.
  • – Contact with skin lesions.
  • – Airborne respiratory droplets.
  • – Things that have touched infected body fluids or rashes, such as bedding or clothing.

 

Is there a treatment?

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox. However, because of its similarity to smallpox, the smallpox vaccine is very effective (some studies suggest it’s close to 85% effective) at preventing monkeypox and reducing symptoms.

People with suspected or confirmed infection should self-isolate at home for a minimum of 21 days, as this is the virus’ maximum incubation period.

 

How concerned should I be about monkeypox?

Monkeypox is not considered a serious disease. As mentioned above, it is similar to smallpox, but typically milder. Most people recover in 2 to 4 weeks.

As of today, there have been 2 cases of monkeypox confirmed in the province of Malaga. In the rest of Andalusia, 19 potential cases are being evaluated but have not yet been confirmed.

 

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