How Worried Should We Be about Monkeypox?

As if COVID-19 is not enough to worry about, now there is monkeypox. In Boston, one patient hospitalized with the monkeypox virus came in contact with 200 people (most of them healthcare workers). And the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified more than 100 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus in an outbreak across Europe and North America. Like similar pox viruses, monkeypox is most often transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact, and can, less easily, be transmitted through respiratory droplets when a patient has lesions in the mouth. Monkeypox symptoms include a fever, headache, exhaustion, and a rash or lesions-about 1 in 10 who contract the disease die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And on Monday even President Joe Biden weighed in, reassuring Americans already exhausted from the COVID-19 experience that the country was ready if it had to take on a new virus. Still, he advised people to “be careful.”

For some perspective on monkeypox and the level of concern it’s causing, The Brink spoke with John H. Connor, a virologist at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) and a BU School of Medicine associate professor of microbiology.

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