5 Monkeypox myths debunked by experts
As the monkeypox cases started to rise, so have the fake news and people’s misconceptions about it. The public’s lack of knowledge about the new virus isn’t only widespread, it will also cause panic among the uninformed.
In a poll by Morning Consult, about 57% of adults have confidence they will recover if in case they contract the Monkeypox virus. That percentage also believes that the US CDC can control its spread. Given that percentage, many Americans are still misinformed about the true source and nature of the virus.
The spreading of misinformation and myths about this infectious virus could directly affect all public health efforts. Before, such misinformations were the reason why people weren’t cautious. In a way, taking precautions can help prevent transmission and further spread of the disease.
Whenever there’s a public health crisis, it’s best not to believe misconceptions. These just add fuel to more fear. A hospital epidemiologist at Stanford University, Dr. Jorge Salinas, said, “We need to stay with the Science.”
Here, we are going to debunk the popular myths about Monkeypox.
1. Monkeypox is like COVID-19 – dangerous and contagious
Although it’s an infectious disease, it’s not as fatal as how Coronavirus can be. COVID-19 has a higher risk of transmission through respiratory tracts and airborne.
Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, a medical director of infection control and prevention at Ochsner Health, said that Monkeypox transmission is more complicated. It requires close and prolonged contact with an infected person’s skin lacerations, contaminated objects, and big respiratory droplets.
In addition, Dr. Salinas confirmed that “This is not COVID-19. This is not a highly infectious, highly transmissible respiratory virus.”
The spread of Monkeypox is still increasing. Taking precautions will keep you from contracting the virus.
2. It is transmitted through sex
Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox is correlated to STD and STI. A fact that it can spread through skin lesions and close contact. It doesn’t mean it can only spread through sex.
Thus, it’s safe to say that monkeypox transmission is possible through skin-to-skin contact. This means you can have it whether you have sex or not with an infected person. Just touching a bedding of an infected individual could already put you at high risk go getting the disease. Moreso, hugging, and cuddling can also be causes of transmission.
3. Monkeypox is this generation’s disease
False. In the late 1950s, this has been endemic in some areas of the Central African countries and the West. In addition, the US has also recorded some cases in the past when people are exposed to infected animals abroad.
Dr. Baumgarten clarified, “It has not been largely transmissible as it has been more recently. But it has been around for a long time and just had not the opportunity to spread throughout populations like it is now.”
4. The virus only affects a particular population
Although by definition, the disease isn’t some STD or STI, the current outbreak appears to be between men who have sex with somebody having multiple sex partners. This is according to Josh Michaud, associate director of the global health policy at Kaiser Family Foundation.
In short, the risks are higher for those with multiple sex partners. But still, anyone who comes in close contact with an infected individual can contract it. Baumgarten added that the virus isn’t choosing who it will infect, but it’s a matter of the way of transmission.
Dr. Salinas said, “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.”
5. Monkeypox’s low fatality rate means the public shouldn’t be cautious
Unlike the COVID-19 spread that required people to wear masks, this virus is low-profile. According to Dr. Salinas, there are only very few records of deaths. The CDC’s data shows that there has been no confirmed monkeypox death in the recent US outbreak.
Dr. Baumgarten added, “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.”
Even though the spreading disease isn’t as life-threatening as COVID-19, it can still be dangerous. In some cases, the skin lesions can cause problems in urinating, defecating, and vision issues.