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11 monkeypox myths debunked by health experts




People line up to get the monkeypox vaccine.Share on Pinterest
False claims and misinformation about monkeypox continue to spread at an alarming rate. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Experts are concerned that misinformation about monkeypox could make people unable to protect themselves.
  • Monkeypox can affect people of any age, gender, or sexual orientation. It doesn’t just affect men who have sex with other men.
  • Monkeypox is not a new virus, but the situation is evolving. Still, experts say there are ways to stay safe and get information.

Health misinformation has become pervasive and harmful, said US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, Ph.D. issued a recommendation on it in 2021.

“Health misinformation is a serious threat to public health. said in

Now the United States is dealing with a new emergency: monkeypox.

Experts say misinformation about the virus, including how it spreads and who can get it, is circulating rapidly, which worries them.

“It’s important to provide people with good, quality information when new or unfamiliar diseases emerge,” he says. Dr. Linda Yancey, Infectious disease specialist at Memorial Herman Health System in Houston. “As we’ve seen with COVID, rumors are gaining momentum and people don’t always have the information they need to protect themselves and stay safe.”

To provide accurate information about monkeypox, Healthline spoke with medical experts to debunk 11 disturbing myths currently circulating about the virus.

You may have heard of monkeypox for the first time. In May, England reported a case of a resident who had recently contracted monkeypox. Returning from Lagos, Nigeria. reported by the United States Later that month, the first case occurred in a Massachusetts man who had recently traveled to Canada.

But the truth is, we’ve known about monkeypox for over 60 years.

“Scientists first learned about the virus in 1958, when two smallpox-like illnesses occurred in a research monkey colony,” he explains. Dr. Bayo Curry Winchell, Regional Clinical Director for Carbon Health.

Dr. Mark FisherRegional Medical Director International SOSwhen it was first seen in humans 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

But until this year, most cases of monkeypox were confined to a few African countries where the virus is endemic, Curry-Winchell said. World Health Organization (WHO) Monkeypox is said to be endemic in the following areas:

  • Benin
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Gabon, Ghana (confirmed only in animals)
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Sudan.

Dr. Armand Balboni, Infectious disease experts say you cannot get COVID-19 or the virus from a COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, monkeypox and his COVID-19 are unrelated.

“These are two completely different viruses,” he says.

Dr. Balboni emphasizes that the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccines currently used to prevent monkeypox are safe and effective.

There are currently four vaccines for COVID-19, CDC memo None contain live viruses.

The two most popular, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, use messenger RNA technology (mRNA).

“[These vaccines] “We tell our cells how to make harmless proteins that are unique to the virus,” Curry-Winchell explains. It has nothing to do with the monkeypox virus.”

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, in short Build protection with different virus fixes. The Novavax vaccine is a protein subunit vaccine that uses specific parts of bacteria to provoke an immune response. None of these vaccines have anything to do with the spread or prevention of monkeypox.

Fischer warns that scientists are still studying monkeypox. But so far, he appears to be spreading it primarily via skin-to-skin contact, rather than being water-borne.

It can also be spread by human contact with unwashed linens or clothing previously used by monkeypox patients. With that in mind, Fisher advises people to take precautions in pools.

“Towels and clothing pose a high risk of spreading the virus, so it’s important to be careful about what you touch poolside,” says Fisher.

It doesn’t seem possible to catch monkeypox from the pool itself, but Curry Winchell says anyone in the water could catch monkeypox if they had skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact. … apparently …

“Be wary of large gatherings such as pool parties,” says Curry-Winchell.

Capacity restrictions have been a key mitigation strategy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. virus is airborne It spreads when someone inhales droplets or particles that contain the virus. Officials advised the public that the fewer people sharing the same air, the less likely it was to spread.

Monkeypox can spread through respiratory secretions, CDC pointed out Media recommendations suggest that these droplets fall out of the air faster. But it’s not impossible.

“There is a small risk,” she says. “Since monkeypox is transmitted through prolonged close contact with an infected individual, open wounds and contact with the skin, such as when a monkeypox patient hugs or touches objects or fabrics used to infect Skin contact is a must.Illness.

Kissing or sharing dishes and cups with someone who has monkeypox, such as at a large wedding, can also spread the virus. In other words, the big crowds themselves aren’t the biggest problem, it’s the skin-to-skin contact while people are in them that’s the danger.

Monkeypox can be transmitted sexually, but sex isn’t the only route of transmission, says Balboni.

“Monkeypox can be spread through skin-to-skin contact that is not sexual or intimate,” Balboni says. It’s not the only way smallpox is transmitted.”

If Balboni could debunk one myth, it would be this one.

“The most important thing anyone can know about monkeypox right now is that it can affect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or partner,” he says. should be aware of the risks and educate themselves on how to protect themselves from the virus.”

Yancey says the myth is reminiscent of what existed during the HIV crisis that stigmatized the gay community, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser at the Pres. Joe Biden recently voiced similar concerns on the NPR podcast. all things considered, “Governments must fight the homophobic stigma around monkeypox,” he said.

“The virus doesn’t discriminate,” agrees Curry Winchell.

There are two vaccines that prevent monkeypox, but neither is specific for monkeypox. ACAM2000 and JYNNEOS were developed for smallpox, CDC says At least 85% effective against monkeypox. Two available, but not everyone can get one.

“Vaccine supplies are limited and controlled by the federal government in the United States,” says Fisher. “CDC recommends vaccination for exposed and at-risk people.

According to the CDC, people who are eligible to be vaccinated against monkeypox are:

  • Individuals who have been exposed to the virus in the last 4-14 days.
  • Individuals working in a particular field or setting, such as health care providers or laboratory workers testing for the diagnosis of orthopoxviruses such as monkeypox.

Monkeypox vaccine is currently not widely available due to a shortage in supply, experts say.

Fischer notes that the US Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to allocate additional funds. JYNNEOS vaccine 786,000 doses — improved, but not enough.

He said it would take about three times that amount to protect the 1.6 to 1.7 million Americans considered at high risk of contracting monkeypox.

Fischer says neither vaccine used for monkeypox is new and both are effective.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is the more commonly used and the newer of the two. FDA approved it in 2019 Intended for people 18 years and older who are considered at high risk for smallpox or monkeypox.

ACAM2000 approved in 2007 In 2008, it replaced the smallpox vaccine dryvax.

That statement is also false, says Balboni.

“Monkeypox arose from a colony of monkeys being studied for research in the late 1950s,” he says. “Over the past few decades, there have been sporadic outbreaks of the virus globally, with outbreaks occurring primarily in rainforest regions of Central and West Africa.”

Scientists first discovered the virus in monkeys, but Fisher points out that the virus may not have originated in that species.

“It remains unknown whether monkeys transmitted the virus to humans, as some species can carry it,” Fisher says.

But it wasn’t made in a lab.

From business closures to Zoom vacations to drive-by birthday parties, COVID-19 has disrupted life as we know it. Does monkeypox do the same? Although the situation is changing, experts hope this public health emergency will not require the same level of precaution.

“From what we have observed, transmission of monkeypox requires close physical contact, so it is unlikely that in-person gatherings and events will be affected in the same way as with COVID-19. says Balboni.

Fischer sympathizes with people’s concerns — we’ve been through a lot in the last 2.5 years — but he shares Balboni’s hopes.

“The impact of COVID-19 often leaves individuals fearing the worst, but we now know a lot about monkeypox and a vaccine has already been developed and distributed,” says Fisher. . “That said, it is possible that the virus will evolve as cases continue to spread. It is hoped that this will provide insight into

With all the misinformation out there, getting accurate and up-to-date information is essential, Yancey said. She recommends her three sites for evidence-based information:




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