How to protect yourself from monkey pox and what to do if you get infected
A recent monkey pox outbreak in the US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East has surprised health experts and is raising concerns about a wider outbreak.
As of Wednesday, there were 346 confirmed and suspected cases in 22 countries outside Africa where the virus is endemic, according to Our World in Data.
Most new cases are spread through sex, with a particular focus on men having sex with other men. However, the World Health Organization has warned that anyone could be at risk of contracting the virus. Children, pregnant women and persons with weakened immunity are considered particularly at risk.
Defend yourself against the monkey pox
While health experts agree that the risks to the general public are low, there are some precautions you can take to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
Recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the UK National Health Service and the WHO include:
Avoid contact with people who have recently been diagnosed with the virus or those who may have been infected.
Use a face mask if you are in close contact with someone who has symptoms.
· Use condoms and keep an eye on symptoms if you have recently changed partners.
Avoid contact with animals that may be carriers of the virus. This includes sick or dead animals and especially those with a history of infection, such as monkeys, rodents and prairie dogs.
Practice good hand hygiene, especially after contact with infected animals or people - or suspected infected. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Eat only well-cooked meat.
What to do if you are caught by a monkey owl
If you are diagnosed with monkey pox, you will need to be isolated until the virus is gone. The disease is usually mild and most people recover within 2 to 4 weeks.
Initial symptoms of monkey pox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swelling, and back pain. Rash and lesions usually appear on the face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth or genitals within one to five days. Those rashes turn into raised lumps and then into blisters, which can fill with white fluid before breaking and expanding.