SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) — As the United States declares monkeypox a national health emergency, there are questions about where the disease is taking us. Health experts remind us that the virus has been around for years, but what exactly is monkeypox and how concerned should we be?
Monkeypox made headlines across the country. It is a skin-to-skin infection that has spread worldwide over the past few months.
“The main symptom is a distinctive type of rash. It can be blister-like or pimple-like,” said Dr. Mike Sevilla of the Salem Family Practice Center.
It can affect several areas such as the hands and arms, but mainly the disease affects the genital area. You may also experience other symptoms like fever and chills.
Sevilla said it was rare for you to feel pain.
“Fortunately for monkeypox, the rash and symptoms usually go away on their own without any type of treatment,” Sevilla said.
Unlike COVID-19, medical experts have known about monkeypox for years, but the monkeypox vaccine is not readily available.
“So it’s not something people can go to their doctor’s office. It’s not something that people can go to their pharmacy to get the monkeypox shot because there aren’t that many out there yet,” Sevilla said.
Dr Sevilla said it was mainly managed by the health services and given to those most at risk.
While most cases so far have been in gay and bisexual men, health officials point out that anyone can contract the virus through close personal contact, and although Sevilla said research has shown that more gay men have contracted monkeypox, it is unclear why this affects this community more.
He also said he would not be surprised if cases increased over the next two months.
“As fall begins to progress, you may see outbreaks of monkeypox on college campuses,” Sevilla said.
According to the CDC, there are more than 6,000 cases in the United States, 34 in Ohio and 173 in Pennsylvania.
But Monkey Pox is not a death sentence. You can’t get it just by being close to someone like COVID or the flu.
Sevilla say not to worry.
“It’s not at all close to the concern against COVID and COVID infections,” Sevilla said.