MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Experts in infectious diseases around the world are spotting a virus that has spread to several countries.
There is now a confirmed case of monkey pox in the United States, and at least four other suspected cases.
So how do monkey cups compare to COVID-19? Good question. Jeff Wagner talked to a doctor about how worried we should be.
More than two years into a worldwide pandemic from COVID-19, a new, yet well-known virus has reappeared. Monkey cups originate from Africa and are rarely seen outside this country. But there are now 90 cases in 12 countries outside this continent. One case has been confirmed in Massachusetts. There are likely cases in Florida and New York.
“If you’ve ever had chickenpox, it’s the same kind of genus as chickenpox virus,” said Dr. Nicholas Lehnertz, medical specialist at the Minnesota Department of Health.
What symptoms do monkey pox create?
“It starts a little bit with fever, headaches, and you get tired,” said Dr. Lehnertz.
It then creates a rash that turns into swollen blisters and crusts. The disease lasts about two to four weeks.
How are monkey cups spread?
“Monkey smallpox generally spreads through some form of direct contact with the virus, such as body fluids or direct skin-to-skin contact through the smallpox lesions themselves,” he said.
Dr. Lehnertz said monkey cups can also be spread through airway droplets, but exposure will have to happen over a long period of time and in very close proximity.
How transferable is it compared to COVID-19?
“It’s far less transferable. I want to emphasize that,” he said.
One big difference is that people want to know they have monkey pox because of the symptoms, which means they are likely to isolate themselves and see a doctor when they know they are sick. COVID-19 was much more misleading.
“One of the hardest things about [COVID-19] is that there was a lot of asymptomatic or presymptomatic transmission where you were contagious to other people and you would not even know it, ”said Dr. Lehnertz.
The modern world is also more prepared for a monkey cup outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the disease was discovered in 1958 in monkey colonies. The first human case occurred in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, vaccines and treatments have been developed along with further research into how best to stop the spread of the virus. This is an advantage that medical experts have over COVID-19.
“[COVID-19], it was brand new. We knew almost nothing about it. It kept surprising us every time, ”he said.
There are no cases of monkey pox in Minnesota. Dr. However, Lehnertz said they take the spread of the virus seriously and continue to monitor it.
There was a monkey pox outbreak in the United States in 2003, in which 47 people became infected. None of them died.
Dr. Lehnertz said monkey pox has a mortality rate of 1% -11%, but that the frequency is strongly influenced by variables such as access to health care, comorbidities, nutrition and more.