Is Monkeypox the Next Pandemic?
After finally getting out of the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are already concerned that there may be a new one. For a couple of months, monkeypox has been in the news, and how it could be the next pandemic. Monkeypox is real. However, the question is whether it is an emerging pandemic. So, what is monkeypox, and could it really be the next pandemic?
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare pox virus that was discovered in 1958 in a few colonies of monkeys. The first human case of monkeypox was in 1970. This rare pox virus is in the same family of viruses as the variola virus, which causes smallpox. In addition, the infection spreads through contact with an infected person or with bedding and furniture that was used by an infected person. However, unlike its family members, monkeypox symptoms are milder and rarely fatal.
The most recognizable symptom is the “pox” or rash itself. The rash will look like pimples or blisters that will appear on your face, mouth, and the rest of your body. Other symptoms of Monkeypox include:
- Muscles aches and backache
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
This disease primarily appears in most of central and western Africa. Whenever cases appeared in other countries, they were traced back to travel to Africa. In addition, certain animals imported from the area can carry the virus. Recently, it appears there is an increase in cases in non-endemic countries. It is a concern, but can Monkeypox pose a threat as a new pandemic?
It’s Nothing Like COVID-19
No, Monkeypox is not going to be the next pandemic. In addition to being rare and up until now isolated on a single continent, the rare pox virus cannot be compared to COVID-19 in regards to pandemic qualities.
First of all, Monkeypox and COVID-19 are two different viruses. COVID-19 is an RNA virus that has ribonucleic acid (RNA) as its genetic material and reproduces by inserting RNA into the host cell. This allows the disease to adapt and mutate to a host species. However, the pox virus is different. Unlike RNA, the mutation rate is lower for pox viruses. Furthermore, 80-90% of pox viruses are identical. That means that vaccines or antiviral treatments for poxvirus can work on Monkeypox.
In addition, the spreading method is very different as well. According to Dr. Luis Sigal, Vice Chair of Research of Jefferson Health, pox diseases cannot spread through the air. In one of his statements:
COVID particles are very small and can be transmitted through the air, which is why they can spread so easily. The particles of poxviruses, like monkeypox, are much bigger and heavier, which means they can’t travel that far through the air.
Poxviruses infect people through contact. In that contact, you will have a primary infection site that will allow the virus to spread through your body and other organs. It is the reason why lesions appear. The virus infects your body through your skin.
Are People Looking for the Next Pandemic?
If you look into Monkeypox and then compare it to COVID-19, it is clear that the pox virus cannot compare. Furthermore, people who were born before 1972 were vaccinated against smallpox. As a result, they will have protection against the virus. However, if you look at mainstream media sites like NBC, there are plenty of stories that are outrageous and do not match reality. Some of these stories even say monkeypox is being transmitted by sex between men, something that is not even close to the reality of the disease. But why?
It feels like some people are just looking for the next pandemic. Part of it could be that after suffering for two years, people are waiting for the other shoe to drop. It could be politicians wanting to retain the same power that they had during the pandemic and are willing to use anything to keep it. After all, we do have the midterm elections coming. Regardless, it is pretty clear that Monkeypox won’t be the thing they are looking for.