Monkeypox was found in the United Kingdom. Since then, over 50,000 cases have been reported globally, about 18,500 of them being in the United States. This viral disease, a part of the variola virus family, provides communities around the globe with yet another dangerous outbreak.
However, Monkeypox was originally first introduced in 1958, when two outbreaks of the pox-like disease were found in monkeys taken for research, but the source of the disease remains unknown. Monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mimics a milder and less fatal version of smallpox.
With a blistery rash covering one’s body to ashiness and fevers, Monkeypox can take up to four weeks to fully heal and leave a person’s system. Like COVID-19, Monkeypox spreads through direct and intimate contact, allowing even a pregnant woman to pass down this virus to a fetus through the placenta.
Aside from how Monkeypox is spread by someone who has it, scientists continue to experiment with questions similar to those faced with COVID-19: Can the virus be spread by someone with no symptoms? Is Monkey Pox spread via bodily fluids or purely human touch?
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and its vaccine, a quicker turnaround was upheld with the Monkeypox virus. Today, two Monkeypox vaccines are available in the United States: JYNNEOS and ACAM2000. Both JYNNEOS and ACAM2000 were derived from vaccines to treat smallpox and the previous Monkeypox outbreak.
However, the newness of these vaccines leaves room for recommended precautions, as scientists and physicians encourage the vaccinated to isolate themselves from others if diagnosed with Monkeypox. And as stated by the CDC, “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been distributing the JYNNEOS vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile since May 2022.”
More recently on Aug. 9, 2022, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization, recommending a smaller dosage of the JYNNEOS vaccine to increase the number of dosages available by five times while maintaining a similar immune response.
White House coordinator Robert Fenton for the national Monkeypox response claims that this approach to vaccination is “a strategy that is increasing our ability to reach those that are at risk and is being utilized very successfully to increase the number of doses we have on hand,” he said. According to The New York Times, Fenton also revealed that by September, the U.S. would perceivably receive roughly 5.5 million ordered doses of the Monkeypox vaccine.
But as far as spreading awareness goes, Fenton has made it a point to reach to those most at risk: men who have sex with men. A long history of work on sexually transmitted diseases and early studies of the current Monkeypox outbreak reveals a pattern of highly interconnected sexual networks within this particular community of men that allow the virus to spread in a way that it can’t in the general public.
That being said, any form of unsafe sexual intercourse between all genders contributes to the possible rise of Monkeypox