Monkeypox is a public health emergency. Here’s what you need to know about the virus

Monkeypox is a public health emergency. Here’s what you need to know about the virus

Published July 24, 2022
Views 14

As of Saturday, the virus has been discovered in more than 70 countries, 68 of which historically had not reported cases of monkeypox. In the U.S., confirmed cases have popped up in all but six states: Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Vermont and Wyoming, according to the CDC.

Besides the reference to wildlife, the only similarity between monkeypox and chickenpox is that they’re a virus. Instead, monkeypox is most similar to smallpox, which was eradicated through global vaccination efforts in 1980.

The two viruses are from the orthopoxvirus family. Monkeypox is not as transmissible or fatal as smallpox. However, some researchers worry that monkeypox could mutate and become a greater threat to humans.

“Although smallpox has been eradicated from the human population since 1980, there is the potential for monkeypox to fill this void,” the study says. “An extended chain of person-to-person transmissions of monkeypox in 2003 in the Republic of Congo reveals the potential of further adaptation of the virus to become a more successful human pathogen.”