Monkeypox: Minor Disruption or New Epidemic?

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"Syringe and Vaccine" by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The smallpox vaccine has proved effective against Monkeypox.

Joshua Barker, Writer

As of Sept. 15, 2022 there are 59,606 reported Monkeypox cases in the world. Of these, 22,774 are in the United States. With these cases following the infamous COVID-19 pandemic many wonder how serious these Monkeypox cases are.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Monkeypox is a viral infection similar to smallpox that was transmitted to humans from animals. Monkeypox can be contracted from direct contact with bodily fluids and other contaminated materials such as skin to skin contact and have very intense symptoms. Symptoms include fevers, intense headaches, rashes, back pain and painful skin lesions.

When asked about Monkeypox some students at Kennedy had a few things to say. One  reason could be COVID-19 fatigue. 

“I feel like since COVID-19 was such a big thing I’m not paying as much attention to this sort of thing. So it’s just very minimal in my head like, I know it’s around but its just not something I’m worried about,” junior Colton Smith said.

At the time of writing, there are 22 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in Iowa which has led people to wonder what plans local health authorities have for a potential outbreak. 

“[Kennedy doesn’t] have a defined Monkeypox policy, as of right now it is not deemed a large concern in Linn County let alone within the school districts,” said Kennedy’s Family Nurse Practitioner Alexis Becker.

Iowa at large and especially the school districts of Linn County are at a low risk of a Monkeypox epidemic.

“We’re still relatively low risk in the school setting. It would be higher risk towards like college and dormitories where people have closer contact with others,” said Becker.

While being at low risk is quite reassuring what would happen if Monkeypox cases appeared in the Cedar Rapids School District? According to the Center for Disease and Control (CDC), WHO and the John Hopkins organization the Smallpox vaccine has been found to be quite effective against Monkeypox. So far the CDC has followed the policy of offering Smallpox vaccines to those who are at risk in infected regions.