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Monkeypox: Time to worry or one to ignore?

You must be wondering, is monkeypox the world’s new COVID-19? Is it time to worry or one to ignore? Well, as if one pandemic wasn't enough, a dangerous new virus is spreading worldwide. Starting at the beginning of May, the monkeypox virus has cropped up in places where it's not usually found. The pathogen originated in West and Central Africa and has now spread to many countries such as Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Austria, the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel.

Let's be clear: this is not another Covid, and we're not days away from lockdowns to contain the spread of monkeypox. There is no need to panic. The world has had outbreaks of the monkeypox virus before, and we are even better prepared for the virus now that we have had three years of experience with the coronavirus. The monkeypox virus does not spread easily between people. The transmission of the virus among humans is limited; it can happen through close skin contact, air droplets, bodily fluids, and virus-contaminated objects. It does not spread via casual contact. With that being said, the slower spread of the virus and its low transmission rate allows authorities to have more time to confirm cases, isolate the infected people and trace their recent contact with others. However, nothing is impossible, so taking precautions is extremely important.

Monkeypox is not a fatal disease, with a fatality rate of less than 1%. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) of someone infected with monkeypox is usually 7-14 days. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person infected develops a rash that usually begins on the face and then spreads throughout the body.

Some symptoms of monkeypox are:

  • Fever;

  • Headache;

  • Muscle aches;

  • Backache;

  • Swollen lymph nodes;

  • Chills;

  • Exhaustion.

Although there is no vaccine to treat monkeypox, the virus is very similar to smallpox, meaning that the smallpox vaccines should be reasonably effective, and a valuable tool for blocking the pox’s transmission once contact tracers have identified the people who are at risk.

To protect yourself from the monkeypox, you should:

  • Avoid coming into contact with people recently diagnosed with the virus or those who may have been infected.

  • Wear a face mask when in contact with someone who has the symptoms.

  • Use condoms.

  • Only eat that has been cooked thoroughly.

  • Avoid coming into contact with animals that could be carrying the virus.

  • Practice good hand hygiene.


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