Monkeypox Spreading In US: What You Should Know

The spread of ‘monkeypox’ is grabbing headlines and has people concerned about another major pandemic. But one health expert says the disease is nothing like COVID-19.

World Health Organization adviser Dr. David Heymann says it’s unlikely we’ll see a widespread transmission of monkeypox: “This is not COVID… it does not spread in the air and we have vaccines to protect against it”.

Monkeypox isn’t a new disease. The first confirmed human case was in 1970, when the virus was isolated from a child suspected of having smallpox in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Monkeypox is unlikely to cause another pandemic, but with COVID-19 top of mind, fear of another major outbreak is understandable.

Health officials are concerned that more cases will arise with increased travel.

Monkeypox appears to spread through sexual activity or very close contact.

Heymann says the current leading theory is that the disease was transmitted sexually, at two rave parties held in Spain and Belgium.

More than 90 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed so far, more than two-thirds of which are in Spain or Portugal.

Though rare and usually mild, monkeypox can still potentially cause severe illness. Monkeypox symptoms include fever and body aches as well as swollen lymph nodes and a rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.