What is Monkey Pox?

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 3:25 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Monkey Pox is spread form person-to-person contact or by an animal or material that has the virus.

It enters through broken skin, nasal passages, eyes or nose. Human-to-human contact must be prolonged as the virus can only travel a few feet through respiratory droplets.

“It’s big. The droplets are big,” says Dr. T. Brian Callister, an internal medicine physician with the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine. “So, they can’t travel as far. Unlike COVID, where close contact would be being in the same room less than six feet for 15 minutes, for Monkey Pox, a close contact for the respiratory droplets being in the same room for more than three hours at less than 6 feet,” he says.

Early signs of Monkey Pox include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, backpain, muscle aches, and low energy.

That is followed by a rash on the face, hands, feet, eyes and genitals. The rash can resemble Chicken Pox. Experts describe it as a debilitating disease lasting two to four months.

“Treatment: We have excellent anti-virals that are known to work on it,” says Dr. Callister. “So, maybe not experimental two good ones; that can be used separately or together, and they are available now,” he says.

The Smallpox vaccine is effective against Monkey Pox and can be used as a preventative measure as well.

But there is not a plan yet to start such a wide-spread immunization program as announced by President Biden Monday.

“I just don’t think it rises to the kind of level of concern that existed with COVID-19 and the smallpox vaccine works for it,” said President Biden.

Monkey Pox can kill as many as one-in-ten people exposed to the virus.

However, that’s based on observational studies in Africa where the virus is more common. It’s also a location where medical care is not as comprehensive as it is here in the United States.

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