Monkeypox is Getting Closer...

By Malavika Suresh, July 1, 2022

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On June 20, a potential case of monkeypox was detected in Taipei, where a man had recently returned from Germany and exhibited symptoms including a fever, sore throat, muscle pain, a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

The case was reported back to the CDC, and on June 24 was confirmed to be monkeypox, marking the first case of the virus in Greater China.

The man had been in close contact with 19 other people at risk of contracting the virus, and all were put under observation by the CDC. 

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease that has origins in parts of West and Central Africa. The virus is similar to smallpox, although significantly less deadly, and lasts between two to four weeks. 

Symptoms include:

  • Rashes

  • Blisters that eventually scab

  • Fever

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle pain

The disease can be transmitted through close contact with an infected animal or person and direct contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids. The incubation period for the monkeypox virus ranges from five to 21 days.

The infection was first documented in the 1970s and has largely remained confined to the African region. 

However, in May of 2022, monkeypox cases were first detected in European countries including UK and Spain.

In the following weeks, the virus spread to the Americas and Asia, and is now active in 50 countries around the world.

The CDC has reported at least 3,958 cases of the disease worldwide. 

How Worried Should We Be?

While the global public health risk has been classified as moderate by WHO, the size of the outbreak clusters is increasing each day, as well as the number of countries affected by the monkeypox virus.

The Chinese population is still at a “low risk level” of developing the disease, and has no reason to panic or get vaccinated.

Nevertheless, customs officials in China have taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of their citizens through increased monitoring of inbound passengers from countries that have reported cases of monkeypox, and issuing warnings to people traveling to monkeypox hotspots.

There are currently no treatments available to completely eradicate the monkeypox virus, with most being aimed at alleviating the symptoms.

[Cover image via Wiki]

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