Monkeypox Madness


Lily Thivierge, Staff Writer

Smallpox was eradicated decades ago, but a new pox is spreading across the US. Monkeypox, a virus originating from Africa, is quickly spreading. At the beginning of 2022, there were zero reported cases in the US, but in a matter of just a few months, the number of reported cases has jumped to 18,989.

             The majority of Americans who have contracted the disease are queer men but they aren’t the only ones at risk. Even though many recent cases have been sexually contracted, Monkeypox is not a STD. Monkeypox is a non-curable infection that leaves a painful rash on the skin and blisters that resemble smallpox. According to the CDC, people of all demographics can get it through skin to skin contact or even from a contaminated object (doorknobs, bedding, etc.) but it does go away. Monkeypox can take up to a few weeks to show symptoms and is highly contagious, but once the rash, scabs, and all other symptoms have cleared, you no longer have it and are no longer contagious. Despite it being highly contagious, fatality rates are extremely low and there have been zero reported monkeypox deaths in the US.

             The reason such a non-lethal disease is making big headlines is because we have only had a couple minor outbreaks in the US that never exceeded hundreds of cases and now Texas alone has over 1,600 cases and the numbers continue to grow. Symptoms, including itchy blisters and flu-like symptoms, last for about 2-4 weeks. 

The FDA recently announced that Jynneos, a smallpox vaccine, could help protect people from contracting monkeypox. After FDA approval, vaccines are being distributed to high risk individuals, but there isn’t really enough to go around. The vaccines are being given in small doses in order to stretch our supply and reach more people. Because the doses are lower than the normal amount, they may not be an effective way to combat monkeypox. 

The most effective way to protect yourself is to not touch or make contact with someone with a rash or are showing signs of monkeypox. It is possible to get monkeypox from objects that were touched by someone with pox, so clean often and wash your hands.