According to the CDC, monkeypox is a virus that can cause many symptoms ranging from respiratory problems to rashes and scabs, as research studies have shown. While, according to the world health organization, the virus was first identified in 1970, and there have been multiple outbreaks since. The first outbreak to reach the US occurred in 2003, when a young girl was bitten by a prairie dog and exhibited symptoms days later. Typically, the virus has an incubation period of 3-17 days which a patient may not show symptoms. However, once the virus emerges, it may stay with a patient for up to four weeks. Often the virus enters the system through either the skin or the respiratory system. After this, the virus binds the D8L protein to chondroitin sulfate, a cell surface receptor. Once the virus has bound to a cell, it can enter through either endocytosis or by fusing through the cell membrane. After this, the virus can infect the cell and spread to others.
When the virus had a recent outbreak this past May the CDC and WHO were quick to react. As the virus emerged soon after the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be said that both WHO and the CDC were “warmed up” for this monkeypox outbreak and the virus was quickly dispelled in the continental US. However, before it could be dealt with, 30 thousand people in the US were infected and across the world, just over 85 thousand cases were reported. Similarly, a study was done across the US, surveying hundreds of cases between April and June of 2022, and the study revealed that while monkeypox is very infectious, it doesn’t necessarily target those with immune system problems nor the elderly. However, 95% of people who contracted the virus did develop some sort of rash, meaning that was the most common symptom. While the mortality rate of monkeypox is relatively low, at around 3%, it is still a debilitating disease, affecting nearly a hundred thousand people across the world. As such, it is impressive how countries have come together to deal with this virus so quickly. But how?
While the first US outbreak was from animal to human, the 2022-23 outbreak has been somewhat trickier for eradication as the recent outbreak has spread from human to human. However, the monkeypox virus is quite similar to the smallpox virus, for which a vaccine exists. Luckily, this vaccine is up to 85% effective for those experiencing symptoms.
However, more measures had to be taken than simply a vaccine that is only 85% effective. The CDC and WHO implemented measures such as mask-wearing, vigorous hand washing, and awareness campaigns in areas heavily affected by monkeypox. With these protocols implemented across the world, monkeypox was tamped down quite quickly in relation to how quickly it spread. As such, monkeypox left the media just as soon as it emerged, and generally, people can sleep soundly at night without worry of waking up feverish, with large painful rashes and scabs.
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