Monkeypox outbreak: Here we go again?

This 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, and depicts the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a monkeypox case patient, who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. (CDC via AP)

UPDATED 2:50 PM PT – Monday, May 23, 2022

New York City confirmed it’s first case of Monkeypox on Friday. Officials say the patient is being quarantined as their investigation continues. This marks the second confirmed case in the U.S. after another man was found in Boston earlier in the week.

Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms before the characteristic rash develops. The virus is spread through close contact with people, animals or material infected with the virus. It enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, the eyes, nose and mouth

“We’ve seen a few cases in Europe over the last five years, just in travelers,” said Dr. Rosamund Lewis, who runs the WHO’s smallpox research. “This is the first time we’re seeing cases across many countries at the same time in people who have not traveled to the endemic regions in Africa.” 

The outbreak has quickly advanced across Europe and North America over the last week and is expected to be far more widespread as more doctors look for the signs and symptoms. The CDC has put medical professionals on alert and is warning those with higher risk factors, particularly men who have sex with other men, to be vigilant.

“Many diseases can be spread through sexual contact. You could get a cough or a cold through sexual contact,” said WHO advisor Andy Seale. “It doesn’t mean that it’s a sexually transmitted disease.” 

Seale’s agreed many of the people infected in the current outbreak identify as gay or bisexual, but “this is a virus that could affect anyone.” Monkeypox is taking over the global conversation and has left many questioning the validity of the virus’s actual threat.

PCR tests are used to identify the infection.

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