Monkeypox Surfaces and Spreads Throughout the U.S.

Matthew Tapia, Staff Writer

Monkeypox is an uncommon virus that is an infection that is related to the variola virus which causes chicken pox. Anybody who comes in close contact with the virus is most at risk to catch the disease. “I believe Monkeypox could be like Covid in the future,” said Aaron Sanchez.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 but exploded on July 23, 2022. The origins of the virus are unknown, but it is suspected that African rodents could spread the disease to humans. Hot spots for the virus have been reported in western Europe and south America.

Monkeypox symptoms involve painful or itchy rash, with lesions resembling blisters or pimples that can evolve into sores and scabs or a fever and a headache. Or even exhaustion and headaches. “Monkeypox could maybe be like Covid in the future,” said Freddy Alvarenga. Health organizations across the world are worried about the disease becoming worse.

There are 24,363 cases in total in the U.S. and 4,753 statewide here in California as of September 20. According to The California Department of Health, in Kern County 17 cases were reported as of September 22. The county of Los Angeles has reported the most cases in all of California with 1,886 reported cases of Monkeypox. “I think old people are most at risk for the virus,” said Jesse Muro. People from the ages of 25-44 have the highest cases. Men have more cases than women with men having 4,545 and women having 80 cases in California. 117 people have been hospitalized from the disease in California.

Monkeypox is a zoonosis virus that spreads from human to animals with the symptoms having been familiar to smallpox. The recent outbreak is being reported in countries where it’s not endemic.  The severity of an endemic is where a disease or virus is common in a certain area. Aaron Sanchez said “I don’t think we need another quarantine because Monkeypox doesn’t seem as bad compared to Covid.” There are suspected rodents to be the host of the disease like rope squirrels or tree squirrels. Non-human primates, Gambian pouched rats, and Dormice have also been suspected to carry the disease. 

The first human with a case of Monkeypox was a boy who was nine months old, reported in 1970 by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After 1970, numerous countries in Africa reported Monkeypox in western Africa and central Africa. In April 2003, a shipment of animals from Ghana, Africa had 800 small mammals infected with Monkeypox imported to Texas.

 The shipment from Africa caused an outbreak in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and multiple other states. Since then Monkeypox has died down until as of recently. There is a vaccine that fights back against the virus. The side effects include soreness, tiredness, and headaches. The two vaccines that have been approved by the CDC are JYNNEOS and the ACAM200. The JYNNEOS vaccine was approved for prevention of the virus. ACAM200 was approved for immunization and protection against the disease.