Health officials alleviate concerns over monkeypox [Video]


  • Health officials are trying to alleviate concerns over the rising number of monkeypox cases worldwide.
  • Infectious disease experts have stated that monkeypox is much less transmissible than COVID-19 since it only spreads through close physical contact.
  • Symptoms are also usually mild, and smallpox vaccines can effectively prevent infection.

President Joe Biden recently caught the attention of some public health officials after stating that monkeypox is something “everybody should be concerned about.” But he later clarified his remarks on Monday when he told reporters in Tokyo, “I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19.”

Now, health officials are trying to alleviate concerns about monkeypox, amid a rising number of cases in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including the United States.

Cases of monkeypox have rarely been reported outside Africa. Monkeypox symptoms usually include fever, chills, rashes, and lesions on the body. The virus can be spread through close contact with an infected person and their belongings. Symptoms are usually mild, with most people recovering within several weeks without hospitalization.

The current outbreak involves 15 countries, including the United States, Britain, Spain, France, Switzerland, Australia, and Israel, with over 90 confirmed cases.

The exact source of the outbreak is still unclear, but a leading theory suggests that the disease was spread through sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two raves in Spain and Belgium.

Dr. David Heymann, a leading adviser to the WHO, told the Associated Press, “We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission.”

Health officials have shown less concern about the monkeypox outbreak than they have about COVID-19 since the former is less transmissible.

During Monday’s question-and-answer session at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said that the spread of monkeypox in the West is still containable.

She explained, “Transmission is really happening from close physical contact — skin-to-skin contact. So it’s quite different from COVID in that sense.”

Heymann added, “This is not COVID. We need to slow it down, but it does not spread in the air.”

Since monkeypox is a cousin of smallpox, smallpox vaccines are also effective in preventing monkeypox. There are also antiviral drugs being developed.


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