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By Carlos Gamino

As the U.S. and much of the world is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, news outlets all over the country are reporting on monkeypox – but is it really a big deal? Who needs to be worried, and should you rush to get a vaccine?

Most experts agree that handling the recent monkeypox outbreaks in major cities is the key to preventing it from becoming a big deal. The virus, which is from the same family as smallpox is, is treatable, but there are currently nearly 2,000 cases across the U.S. with some possibly going undiagnosed. At this point, it’s officially an “outbreak,” not a pandemic. Though there have been a few cases diagnosed in Wisconsin, most physicians here feel that it’s manageable (though physicians in larger cities with larger numbers of cases disagree).

According to news outlet WEAU, monkeypox isn’t typically spread during short periods of close contact. That means the risk to the public is still pretty low in Wisconsin. The virus typically spreads through:

  • Direct skin contact with someone who has a rash
  • Contact with surfaces or objects used by someone with monkeypox (like clothing, bedding or toothbrushes)
  • Respiratory droplets

And because most people recover in a few weeks without treatment, it’s not particularly life-threatening to the general population.

There are tests for monkeypox, and there are also vaccines available. But the vaccines aren’t widely available to most people, and because it’s not typically considered a serious illness (except in immunocompromised people), many people may not jump on board – just as many haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19.

What Do You Think?

Are you concerned about monkeypox in Wisconsin? Would you get a vaccine if it were widely available? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – so please feel free to share them on my Facebook page or on my Twitter feed.

Carlos Gamino