Monkeypox: What you should know about the virus – and how to protect yourself

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With monkeypox virus becoming a health concern that Americans seem to be hearing about more and more, what are some best practices for avoiding the virus — and is it time to worry?

On Monday, Fox News Digital spoke with Dr. Mark Siegel, MD, professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, and a Fox News contributor, about the monkeypox virus.

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

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Dr. Siegel said no one should “go into a state of panic,” as so many people have done with the COVID pandemic.

“I think it’s hard to contract,” Dr. Siegel said of monkeypox. “I would just say be aware of close contact with people who have a rash.”

Dr. Mark Siegel spoke with 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)

Saying that health officials still believe “the main reason for this is the MSM community,” Siegel said that’s currently their “main focus.”

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Dr. Siegel emphasized that “given the difficulty of spreading this thing, it will not be like another Covid.”

“I am requesting an emergency use license for TPOXX [an anti-viral drug]which works,” said Dr. Siegel.

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

There are two monkeypox vaccines, Siegel said, “one of which is the old live virus vaccine — very similar to the smallpox vaccine I had when I was a kid.”

Monkeypox will not be like another Covid disease.

“There is a national stockpile of that and [it’s] More than 100 million doses.

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

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

A 1997 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while investigating an outbreak of monkeypox.  This patient was showing the characteristic rash during recovery.

A 1997 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while investigating an outbreak of monkeypox. This patient was showing the characteristic rash during recovery.
(CDC via AP, file)

The doctor believes a word of caution to the LGBT community is appropriate from health professionals, along with advice to stay calm.

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

“I’m more concerned about sexual transmission at this point,” he said.

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Here are some basic information and “best practices” when it comes to monkey bars, so everyone can protect themselves as much as possible.

What is monkeypox?

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

The symptoms of monkeypox are milder than those of smallpox – and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

The CDC says the virus has nothing to do with chickenpox. Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of smallpox-like disease emerged in monkeys kept for research.

Why is it called monkeypox?

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

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

Good hygiene is important when protecting against monkeypox - hand washing is also recommended as well as maintaining sanitary distances and washing the linens of infected people.

Good hygiene is important when protecting against monkeypox – hand washing is also recommended as well as maintaining sanitary distances and washing the linens of infected people.
(iStock)

What are the symptoms of monkeypox disease?

Symptoms of monkeypox include headache, muscle aches, fatigue, fever, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, and chills.

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

What preventive steps can be taken against monkeypox?

The CDC shares many health actions we can all take to reduce contact and transmission of disease.

Among these tips: Avoid skin contact for people with a rash.

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

Do not touch the rash or scabs of anyone with monkeypox.

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 monkeypox.

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

Isolate at home if you get monkeypox.  The CDC said that close personal contact is the reason for the rapid spread of the virus.

Isolate at home if you get monkeypox. The CDC said that close personal contact is the reason for the rapid spread of the virus.
(iStock)

If you are in Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that may spread the virus. Usually they are rodents and monkeys.

Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or anything else that has come into contact with it, the CDC noted.

What do you do if you get monkeypox?

Isolate at home. Close personal contact is another reason for the rapid spread of the virus.

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

“I will maintain my COVID protocols to stay safe from monkeypox,” an HR specialist from Kensington, Maryland — who recently recovered from COVID — told Fox News Digital after hearing about CDC best practices.

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She noted that “I suffer from COVID stress, but I also have logical habits that I gained from it as well, which I will continue to have.”

She also said, “Wash your hands, maintain healthy distances, and increase housekeeping practices – both at home and at work.”

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