The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency. The recommendation comes after an outbreak across the global community caused many to take the virus more seriously.
Includes Arizona. The United States has seen a steady increase in reported cases over the course of the summer, now reaching nearly 5,000 confirmed cases nationwide.
The surge in cases led to the Biden administration announcing that 780,000 additional doses of the vaccine would be available Friday. Those doses will add to the 300,000 doses distributed this month, bringing the total to 1.1 million.
Here’s what you need to know about the monkeypox virus, the vaccine, and how to stay safe.
What is monkeypox and how do you get it?
Monkeypox is not a new virus. It was discovered in 1958 in the monkey colony that was under investigation. Although it’s called monkeypox, the actual origins of the virus are actually unclear.
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Since then the virus has mostly appeared in Central and West African countries where it is endemic, meaning that it has infected people constantly but has not been a major cause for concern. Prior to 2022, infections outside this region of the world were largely due to international travel.
The monkeypox virus is similar to smallpox, and both belong to the same family as the smallpox virus. Symptoms of monkeypox are milder than smallpox and are rarely fatal.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox disease?
If you have been researching monkeypox, you have likely come across pictures of individuals with lesions such as pimples and rashes on their bodies. But there are other things to look for, too.
Symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox.
Here are the most common symptoms identified by the CDC:
- Muscle and back pain
- swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (such as sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough)
- A rash that looks like blisters or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
Symptoms may not always be noticeable and you may not experience all of the above. In some cases, these lesions have been reported as very painful and potentially scarring.
How does monkeypox spread?
There are multiple ways this virus has been observed to spread, especially through physical contact and respiratory droplets. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms begin until the rash heals and a new layer of skin forms. The disease usually lasts from 2 to 4 weeks.
Person-to-person contact through rashes, scabs, or fluids are examples of possible disease spread. Touching previously touched items with rashes or infected fluids can also spread the virus.
Contact with infected animals is another way for the virus to spread. Being scratched or bitten by an infected animal or consuming products from an infected animal.
How to avoid monkeypox
Preventing the spread of monkeypox is similar to what we’ve been doing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Washing your hands after touching someone, wearing a mask in crowded indoor places and staying home when you’re sick are the best ways to stay safe.
Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease?
There have been a number of outbreaks across the country that have been traced to sexually active LGBTQIA+ men. This has led some to believe that this is a sexually transmitted disease.
But this is not the case.
The monkeypox virus is not classified as an STD, but because of close contact during sex we know monkeypox can spread.
Classifying this virus can present a false sense of security. In an interview with Healthline, Dr. Michelle Forsier, a physician at FOLX Health, explained that misinformation about how the virus spreads is harmful to gay and bisexual men.
“Monkeypox rumors are harmful because they isolate and seem to ‘blame’ a certain group of people for spreading this infection,” says Forsier. “Describing monkeypox as an STD and associating it with our culture’s view of sex as frightening or shameful may prevent exposed or infected people from accessing medical care.”
How many cases of monkeypox are in Arizona?
The CDC has reported 50 cases of monkeypox in Arizona. A total of 4,907 cases have been confirmed across the United States.
You can see the total number of cases using the CDC mapping tool here.
As of July 28, 2022, there were a total of 32 confirmed cases of monkeypox. An additional 15 cases were noted as probable by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
The first confirmed case of the virus was reported on June 7.
more:More than 2,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine have been administered in Maricopa County
Is there a vaccine against monkeypox?
Healthcare professionals are currently fighting the monkeypox virus by vaccinating the most vulnerable communities. Across Arizona, nearly 2,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered with more campaigns scheduled for the following weeks.
The JYNEEOS vaccine also known as Imvamune or Imvanex has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent monkeypox virus. A second vaccine, ACAM2000 for use against smallpox virus, has also been made available for use against monkeypox.
To receive a full vaccination with JYNNEOS, you must receive two doses four weeks apart between each dose. Insemination occurs two weeks after the second dose.
more:More than 2,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine have been administered in Maricopa County; More scheduled vaccination events
Sonia Singh of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health says the county has provided more than 2,100 doses of 2,900 vaccine allocations. There is currently a limited supply of the vaccine, but more are expected in the coming weeks.
Where can I get the monkeypox vaccine in Arizona?
Vaccine eligibility is currently very limited. The vaccine is offered to groups at higher risk of exposure.
The Maricopa County Health Department will host two vaccination campaigns in Phoenix next week. On August 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on August 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Maricopa County Public Health Clinic located at 1645 Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. MCDPH will host two vaccination campaigns in Phoenix next week. On August 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on August 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Maricopa County Public Health Clinic located at 1645 Roosevelt Street in Phoenix.
In an interview with Stephanie Innes, health reporter for the Arizona Republic, Dr. Nick Stabb, a medical epidemiologist with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said, “Ideally, with more vaccine supplies, we’d be able to give this to individuals who are at high risk but They haven’t necessarily been in contact with a condition. This is often referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis.”
more:Limited supply of monkeypox vaccine worries health officials as cases of infection rise in Arizona
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is dealing with current doses of vaccines. Here are the guidelines for those making vaccines available to:
- Individuals who identify as:
- Gay or bisexual men or
- Other men (cis or trans) or
- trans women
And who have
- Intimate or sexual contact with other men in a social, sexual, or
- Multiple or anonymous partners or
- Anyone sharing a family with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox
Filling out this form from Maricopa County Health will let them know that you are interested in receiving this vaccine. They stressed that “since the supply is limited, completing this survey does not guarantee that the vaccine will be received.”
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Do you have a question that needs answering? Contact the reporter at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @rapeldelag.