Mpox Myths Still Persist Despite No Longer Being a Public Health Emergency

Mar 25, 2023 at 10:36 pm by Alex

As of January 31, 2023, Mpox, previously known as monkeypox, is no longer considered a public health emergency, marking a considerable improvement since its introduction in the United States in May 2022. According to the CDC, the number of confirmed cases has significantly decreased, with the seven-day daily average dropping from 460 on August 6, 2022, to just one on March 1, 2023.

Despite the decrease in cases and the fading media attention, misunderstandings about the virus remain rampant. In an interview with Health Digest, Dr. Vincent Hsu, an infectious disease specialist, and infection control officer for AdventHealth, addressed some of the persistent myths surrounding Mpox:

Myth: The Mpox outbreak is over, and people are no longer at risk.

Fact: While the outbreak has diminished, Mpox transmission still exists. The risk of infection has gone down, but it is not entirely eliminated.

Myth: Since people are at risk, people no longer need to get vaccinated.

Fact: Vaccination remains vital for people at risk of contracting Mpox, as the outbreak is not completely destroyed.

Myth: People cannot transmit Mpox if people do not show symptoms.

Fact: Recent findings show that transmission can occur even before the onset of symptoms, such as fever or rash. Although, there is no evidence of transmission if symptoms do not develop later.

Myth: If people don't experience symptoms soon after exposure, they have not contracted Mpox.

Fact: The incubation period for Mpox can be as long as three weeks or more after exposure. The time just before and during symptom commencement poses the highest risk of transmitting the virus to others.

Myth: Mpox can be transmitted through casual contact.

Fact: Mpox primarily spreads through close personal contact, typically skin-to-skin and sexual contact, rather than casual interactions.

Substantial Progress Has Been Made With Mpox

Dr. Hsu highlighted that significant progress has been made in understanding Mpox during the outbreak. Staying updated on accurate information from reliable sources, such as local public health agencies and the CDC, is vital for ousting myths and controlling the spread of the virus.

He encouraged people to evaluate their risk levels and be mindful of close contact sources. If symptoms like fever, malaise, headache, or rash show themselves, it is important to consult a healthcare provider, seek medical care, and undergo testing promptly. Attentiveness and timely action can play a vital role in preventing further Mpox infections and protecting the public health.