What’s Become of the Monkeypox Virus?

(Image via media.npr.org)

Volunteer Writer: Brendan Flaherty

Email: bflaherty1@umassd.edu

Remember when Monkeypox was the talk of the town, being called the new Coronavirus and had everyone panicking all over again? Well, what happened to that?

The CDC has been consistently putting out new information regarding the state of Monkeypox, including graphs of its cases, and general statistics.

They have reported a total of 28,797 U.S. cases, only 11 deaths, and a global total of 78,964 cases. Meaning the U.S. makes up roughly 36.5% of the total cases worldwide.

Looking at the data charts provided by the CDC, the highest reported number of cases was 573 cases on August 1st, 2022. Followed by a 7-day average of 409 cases, also reported in August.

According to the website, “data are updated every Wednesday as soon as they are reviewed and verified.”

Some information regarding monkeypox globally is that there are 110 locations that have reported cases. 103 of said locations have not reported cases of monkeypox historically, and 7 of them have.

There is a way to stop the spread of cases, and that’s with vaccination. 

(Image via www.nytimes.com) 

According to the CDC, “unvaccinated people had: 14 times the risk of monkeypox disease compared to people who were vaccinated.”

The CDC goes one step further and has done the research to ascertain which groups of people are being affected the most, going into detail to report all sorts of relevant information regarding affected people’s gender, race, age, and symptoms faced.

The highest affected group of people is men from the age range of 31 to 35. 

Throughout the span of May 8th, 2022 to October 30th, 2022, white people had a mean of 34.65% when it comes to cases by race/ethnicity by week. 

White people, African Americans, and Hispanic/Latino people are some of the most affected groups when it comes to reported cases.

Going back to a previously stated statistic, the reason that men are one of the most affected groups by this virus is because of its transmission through bodily fluid-to-skin contact and its prevalence in the LGBTQ+ community. 

However, keep in mind that the virus is not limited by gender or sexuality and can spread to anyone, anywhere through close, personal, and often skin-to-skin contact.

Now for those who are concerned about if they might have Monkeypox currently, some of the most common symptoms are listed by the CDC. 

Some of the symptoms one might look out for are rash, fever, tiredness, chills, and itching. There are many other symptoms that are included but these are the most common.

Some things to keep in mind are that if you had or were in close contact with someone who had the virus, it is advised not to travel. The CDC says to “isolate at home or in another location until your symptoms are gone and your rash has healed.”

Of course, testing is still available at your nearest health department, and if you’re feeling any of the symptoms, it is advised that you go get tested.

Although the trends and expectations of the virus growing again are small, there is still a chance that the virus makes a comeback. Especially now that the virus is not on anyone’s mind, the fear of the spread is negligible.

Although it is true that cases have gone down since the peak in August, the threat is still present and hasn’t been fully flushed out of the U.S.

According to NPR, “not all experts are as optimistic about eliminating the virus domestically.”

There is also talk about how the virus might mutate to avoid the vaccinations and find a new way to affect people or even pets. The chances of a rise in Monkeypox are low, yes, but not fully out of the question.

NPR makes it clear, the chance of fully squashing out the virus may not be possible because it will “no longer be a national public health emergency. As cases decline in major cities, outbreaks may be more limited and localized.”

Without a focus on the virus, the momentum is lost and the chance of the virus making a return is plausible. 

When it comes to eliminating a virus, the only way to eliminate it entirely is to never let off on the pressure and to make sure that all precautions are taken to ensure that the virus doesn’t have the chance to mutate. 

Now that the virus is not considered a national public health emergency, the virus gets a moment to breathe and might end up coming back worse than ever.

Ways that might effectively end the virus are to make sure that you are vaccinated as soon as possible, make sure that if you have symptoms you stay inside and isolate yourself from others, know what causes it to be transmitted, and be careful in those events.

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