Monkeypox: Top 5 Myths, Debunked

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Getting the fitting data is essential relating to issues of well being, however the presence of an infectious illness in a neighborhood has a means of fueling misinformation like wildfire. And in larger outbreaks, just like the 2022 monkeypox outbreak that is now formally a international well being emergency, the unfold of misinformation will be harmful. 

Whereas monkeypox is not a brand new illness, sure elements of this outbreak set it other than earlier instances. With that, there are a number of issues we all know to be true about the way in which this illness behaves total.

These are just a few frequent monkeypox myths, debunked.

Fantasy: Solely homosexual males are liable to monkeypox

Whereas it is true that almost all of individuals getting sick with monkeypox proper now are males who’ve intercourse with males, anybody can get monkeypox no matter sexual orientation, age, gender or no matter different demographic you possibly can throw on the illness.

The explanation it is affecting largely homosexual males proper now could be as a result of, in an uncharacteristic transfer, monkeypox is at present spreading largely by sexual contact. As a result of individuals who have intercourse with males have bodily contact or intimacy with different homosexual or bisexual males, the illness has to date largely been sighted and contained inside that neighborhood. 

However instances have been reported in different demographics, together with girls and kids. Monkeypox can unfold to anybody engaged in shut contact with a monkeypox-infected individual, like somebody who lives with them. And well being officers worry that disgrace might deter individuals from looking for the care they want, together with therapies or vaccines in the event that they’re uncovered. The misbelief that solely homosexual males can get monkeypox might additionally trigger us to disregard unfold of the illness in different communities, which can make the outbreak more durable to include.

Learn extra: Monkeypox: What Homosexual and Bisexual Males Have to Know

Fantasy: Monkeypox is simple to catch

Not like a respiratory virus that spreads comparatively simply in a room full of people that aren’t touching one another (like COVID-19), monkeypox requires shut bodily contact to unfold. That’s, somebody usually must be in direct contact with an individual with monkeypox signs so as to catch it, or in direct contact with their garments or one other cloth or floor a monkeypox rash has touched. Examples of people that might be uncovered to monkeypox should you had it are your sexual accomplice… or the roommate you share a hand towel with daily.

The virus that causes monkeypox can survive, nevertheless, on surfaces — notably in darkish, cool, low-humidity environments, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Due to this, it is perhaps theoretically attainable that somebody might catch monkeypox from a contaminated floor, however the present probability of this stays low. A part of this might be the rationale that the quantity of virus the individual is uncovered to performs a component in whether or not they’re contaminated (sharing a mattress each evening for every week with an individual with monkeypox can be much more publicity than touching a public floor as soon as, for instance). Direct, skin-to-skin contact, together with sexual contact, is the predominant means individuals have been uncovered to monkeypox throughout this outbreak, in response to the CDC. 

“It isn’t a scenario the place should you’re passing somebody at a grocery retailer, they’re gonna be in danger for monkeypox,” Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s Division of Excessive Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, mentioned at a Could briefing with the CDC. 

Learn extra: What to Do if You Assume You Have Monkeypox 

A health care worker vaccinates someone with Jynneos

There is a monkeypox vaccine out there for individuals at increased threat of getting the illness. This week, well being officers modified the way in which it may be given in an effort to unfold out a low provide and vaccinate extra individuals. 


MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Each day Information/Getty Photographs

Fantasy: Monkeypox is a brand new illness

In brief: No. A number of African international locations have been battling monkeypox for years, and the illness is endemic in some areas (in different phrases, it circulates year-round inside one space). The primary human case of monkeypox was detected within the Nineteen Seventies, and there was a small (47-case) outbreak within the US in 2003 linked to imported pet prairie canine. Previous to the 2022 outbreak, most instances of monkeypox had been present in rural, distant areas and linked to direct contact with animals that may unfold the illness.

One other factor that units this outbreak aside is that monkeypox instances are spreading in international locations the place it is not usually discovered and not using a hyperlink to worldwide travel (just like the US, Canada and choose European international locations). It is also largely spreading by intimate contact and being detected in grownup males. Extra instances in earlier outbreaks had been in kids, and human-to-human transmission was decrease.

The present monkeypox outbreak is perhaps linked to a case detected by a Nigerian infectious illness physician in 2017, NPR reported. Dr. Dimie Ogoina recognized a case with traits that extra carefully resemble monkeypox now. Ogoina then seen the outbreak in Nigeria had unfold between males with a hyperlink to sexual contact, versus growing instances amongst kids who’re extra liable to extreme illness (and had been usually impacted in monkeypox-endemic international locations). His and his teammates’ warnings to the broader medical neighborhood might have fallen on deaf ears because the outbreak unfold past Nigeria, in response to the report. 

Fantasy: Monkeypox is inflicting one other lockdown within the US

The Biden administration declared monkeypox a nationwide public well being emergency on Aug. 4. The federal transfer is meant to open up more cash and funding for sources, together with vaccines and testing, and encourage extra information-sharing between the native, state and federal ranges. It does not imply that states or cities will concern stay-at-home orders like they did for COVID-19 earlier than vaccines and coverings grew to become out there, nevertheless. Not like monkeypox, COVID-19 was a totally new virus that continues to unfold simply between individuals who might have gentle or no signs. 

Learn extra: Every little thing We Know About Monkeypox

Two people grab each other's wrists against a dark blue background

Monkeypox has been spreading largely by direct, skin-to-skin contact.


Kelvin Murray/Getty Photographs

Fantasy: There aren’t any monkeypox therapies out there 

In 2019 the US Meals and Drug Administration authorised Jynneos, a vaccine for monkeypox and smallpox prevention for individuals at increased threat of getting these ailments. This vaccine is now being given out to individuals at increased threat of catching monkeypox, although the rollout has been riddled with provide points, and appointments have been arduous to return by for a lot of. 

There’s additionally one other smallpox vaccine that can be used towards monkeypox known as ACAM2000. Nevertheless, that is an older stay virus vaccine that is not secure for all individuals, together with the immunocompromised and other people with sure pores and skin circumstances like eczema. Remedies which were used to deal with smallpox are additionally thought to work towards monkeypox. Whereas most individuals will have the ability to get better from monkeypox at dwelling with out medical intervention, some individuals at increased threat of extreme illness, like people who’re immunocompromised, could also be prescribed an antiviral.

Learn extra: Monkeypox Instances Up Over 40% This Week: Right here Are the Signs to Look For

The data contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t supposed as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you will have a couple of medical situation or well being goals.

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