5 Monkeypox Myths We Need To Stop Believing

As monkeypox circumstances improve throughout the nation, so do numerous misconceptions about how the illness spreads, who it infects and the way lethal it’s.

Myths about infectious illnesses can have a serious influence on public well being efforts. Up to now, such misunderstandings have brought about individuals to underestimate their danger, keep away from taking precautions that assist forestall transmission, and select to not get vaccinated.

One of many worst issues that individuals can do throughout a public well being emergency is gasoline myths that trigger worry and panic, in keeping with Dr. Jorge Salinas, a hospital epidemiologist at Stanford College. Clear and correct communication can assist individuals perceive their private danger and really feel empowered to take protecting steps.

“We need to stay with the science,” Salinas mentioned.

Right here, HuffPost units the report straight and corrects a number of the monkeypox misinformation that has circulated not too long ago.

Fantasy: Monkeypox Solely Spreads By way of Intercourse

Although monkeypox isn’t thought-about a sexually transmitted an infection, it primarily spreads by shut, intimate contact. However the virus doesn’t solely unfold by intercourse.

Monkeypox transmission requires extended, typically skin-to-skin contact — which you’ll have with or with out intercourse. Hugging and cuddling, and even touching bedding and different objects that had been utilized by somebody with monkeypox, can put you in danger.

“Is sex required, obligatory, mandatory to acquire monkeypox? The answer is no,” Salinas mentioned.

Fantasy: Monkeypox Is Simply Like COVID-19

Whereas COVID-19 can simply be contracted by aerosols within the air, getting monkeypox is tougher, mentioned Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, the medical director of an infection management and prevention at Ochsner Well being. Monkeypox requires that extended, shut contact with an contaminated particular person’s pores and skin lesions, giant respiratory droplets or contaminated objects.

“This is not COVID-19. This is not a highly infectious, highly transmissible respiratory virus,” Salinas added.

Salinas doesn’t suppose monkeypox is able to inflicting the identical havoc that COVID-19 did. Pandemic viruses are typically extremely transmissible respiratory viruses that may unfold within the pre-symptomatic section, which makes them exhausting to regulate.

That mentioned, monkeypox remains to be a public well being drawback, and you need to take precautions.

“I’m not saying monkeypox is easy to control, but it is not as difficult — it’s not in the same ballpark — as respiratory viruses,” Salinas mentioned.

Fantasy: Monkeypox Solely Impacts A Sure Inhabitants

Monkeypox is primarily spreading amongst males who’ve intercourse with males, together with nonbinary people and transgender ladies who’ve intercourse with males. The danger is biggest amongst individuals with a number of sexual companions, however anybody who’s intimately uncovered to monkeypox can contract it.

The virus isn’t selective about who it infects, Baumgarten mentioned. As an alternative, it actually simply has to do with the mode of transmission.

Monkeypox appears to proliferate inside this specific social community as a result of it has extra alternatives to unfold by shut contact. However this doesn’t imply that the virus can’t get into different circles. In reality, it seemingly already did however then burned out earlier than it had the prospect to unfold additional.

“This virus can be transmitted from person to person through close skin-to-skin contact, no matter what activity or what gender the person is,” Salinas mentioned.

Fantasy: Monkeypox Is A New Sickness We’re Combating

The illness was first recognized within the late Nineteen Fifties and has been endemic in sure West and Central African nations.

Although monkeypox doesn’t usually escape of endemic areas like these, it’s not unprecedented. The U.S. has seen sporadic circumstances previously when individuals traveled to such areas or had been uncovered to imported animals that had been contaminated.

“It has not been largely transmissible as it has been more recently. But it has been around for a long time and just has not had the opportunity to spread throughout populations like it is now,” Baumgarten mentioned.

Fantasy: The Low Fatality Charge Means Monkeypox Needn’t Be Taken Critically

Only a few individuals die from monkeypox on the whole, in keeping with Salinas, and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s case information signifies that no monkeypox deaths have been confirmed within the present U.S. outbreak.

“The strain that’s circulating right now is not very deadly. And in the past, it only had been associated with a less than 1% mortality,” Baumgarten mentioned.

The overwhelming majority of people that contract monkeypox don’t should be hospitalized and might handle their signs — which generally embrace fever, physique aches and painful pores and skin lesions — from house, Salinas mentioned.

However despite the fact that the illness isn’t normally life-threatening, it may possibly nonetheless be harmful. In sure circumstances, the lesions could cause imaginative and prescient issues or points with urinating and defecating.

“It’s clinically mild because people don’t die or need to be hospitalized. But at the same time, it can be a serious problem,” Salinas mentioned.