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What is Monkeypox and do you need to be concerned?

A researcher from UF's Dept. of Environmental and Global Health explains the virus
Posted at 9:10 AM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 09:10:22-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The images of wounds and bumps and even the name is enough to easily get your attention, but if you’re really concerned about the new virus that’s getting news coverage this week doctors say don’t panic.

"I think this is a matter of interest but not concern,” says Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

He is one of many doctors across the country with the same message about monkeypox. It’s not like Covid-19 and doesn’t spread nearly as easily.

"This is a virus that's not nearly as transmissible as something like Covid-19. It requires close, some people say, face-to-face intimate contact,” Dr. Peter Hotez with Baylor College of Medicine explains.

John Levitsky is a research professor with the Department of Environmental and Global Health at UF. He went through some of the symptoms with Morning Anchor, Amy Wegmann.

“You know, some people feel fatigue, they might have fever, they might have body aches, the thing that apparently, a lot of people up to more severe illnesses get in some type of inflammation of the lymph nodes,” he says.

But Levitsky explains that not all people who contract monkeypox will get the lesions of pox.

"Now, of course, if you start getting those skin lesions, then that's something that should make you seek medical attention, just in case,” he says.

The virus originated in rodent and monkeys and sometimes it can be passed on to humans.

Several recent news headlines suggest that monkeypox could be sexually transmitted but Levitsky says he’s not convinced of that.

“There's there's a lot of stuff on the web now, but whether it's a sexually transmitted illness, I'm not sure that it really has much to do with sex more than the close to a person, right? They've got it at their lungs and they're breathing on you. That's probably a more important way but get transmitted,” he explains.

The CDC is watching 6 people closely after they traveled with an infected person.

While there is no treatment for monkeypox, Levistsky says the smallpox vaccination can be given for this particular virus. His best advice for you right now is to keep track of what public health agencies like the CDC are suggesting until we learn more about what he calls an understudied virus.