Learn the facts about hMPXV ("monkeypox"): Signs, symptoms, diagnosis, & treatment

White-majority countries didn't care about hMPXV, first discovered in 1958, until this current outbreak in 2022.

Photograph of old movie theatre. Two marquee signs say: NOW PLAYING, PROTECT YOUR NEIGHBOR, WEAR A MASK.
Image Description: Photograph of old movie theatre. Two marquee signs say: NOW PLAYING, PROTECT YOUR NEIGHBOR, WEAR A MASK. Photo by Justin Taylor.

hMPXV (aka monkeypox) is a virus, of the genus Orthopoxvirus, that causes the infectious viral disease monkeypox*. It is similar to smallpox, but has a lower mortality rate and a milder rash.

It is NOT a sexually transmitted infection (STI/STD).

There is no known cure.

Risk of death varies from 0% to 11%.

Death rates have been reported as 3.6% in West Africa and 10.6% in Central Africa.

It was first identified in 1958 in monkeys imported from Singapore to Denmark.

*Many scientists and activists are urging the W.H.O. to rename the virus.

The leading suggestion is "hMPXV", i.e. the human version of "MPXV".

"MPXV" is the name already used in most research papers about the cases found in animals.

I choose to use the name "hMPXV".


Most people outside of Africa did not care when hMPXV was killing African children and people with HIV.

This is damning. There have been multiple outbreaks in the past, including ones outside of Africa, between 2003 and 2021.

White people did not care about hMPXV until the 2022 outbreak began in the U.K. on May 6th, 2022, and started spreading to European and other white-majority countries.

hMPXV has been framed in white supremacist capitalist Western mainstream media as a "criminal escapee" or "unruly child" from Africa.

Non-African establishment researchers associating hMPXV with Africa has fuelled anti-Black racist discrimination and violence, and anti-Blackness has contributed to the previous lack of research funding, resources, and treatment of hMPXV.

As of August 7th, 2022, there have been 7 confirmed hMPXV deaths outside of Africa.


How can you catch hMPXV?

You can catch hMPXV from:

  • Any kind of physical contact with an infected person, an infected animal, or their fluids.
  • Contact with clothing and bedding used by an infected person. Please change and wash your clothing and bedding in hot water frequently.
  • Respiratory droplets/aerosols in the air from an infected person, especially indoors. It is airborne.

Having eczema or a history of eczema, being immunocompromised, or being 8 years old or younger, raises your risk of infection.

hMPXV is airborne! Please wear a mask!


Signs & Symptoms of hMPXV

You can be infected without showing any symptoms.

During the first U.S. outbreak of hMPXV in 2003, out of a sample of 34 patients who tested positive, the most common symptoms were, from most frequent to least frequent:

  • 97% had rashes
  • 85% had fever
  • 71% had chills and/or rigors
  • 71% had adenopathy (swollen lymph nodes)
  • 65% had headaches
  • 62% had sore throat*
  • 56% had muscle aches
  • 50% had sweats
  • 47% had coughing*
  • 32% had nausea and/or vomiting
  • 29% had nasal congestion*
  • 29% had back pain
  • 21% had mouth sores
  • 17% had shortness of breath*
  • 12% had stiff neck
  • 12% had dysphagia (trouble swallowing)
  • 12% had chest pain
  • 12% had abdominal pain
  • 9% had conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • 9% had ear pain
  • 9% had wheezing
  • 6% had diarrhea
  • 6% had joint pain and/or swelling
  • 6% had confusion
  • 3% had seizures

*These are respiratory symptoms.

The most recent lists of symptoms (including %s) are similar to this, but exclude respiratory symptoms,

possibly as part of the W.H.O. and C.D.C.'s attempts at covering up the airborne nature of the illness.


Possible Complications of hMPXV

  • encephalitis (brain swelling)
  • epiglottitis (swelling of throat opening)
  • pneumonia (inflammation of lungs)
  • myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
  • keratitis (scratchy red eye)
  • sepsis (blood poisoning)
  • secondary infections, such as: fournier gangrene (genital infection that rapidly causes cells to die), pharyngeal abscess (deep throat infection), and other possible infections
  • blindness
  • pregnancy loss
  • and possibly many more...

Not fun.

hMPXV is airborne! Please wear a mask!


Diagnosis & Treatment of hMPXV

  • Symptoms typically last 2 to 4 weeks.
  • You must quarantine until all symptoms are gone. The U.S. does not currently have a financial safety net for people who must quarantine and cannot go to work.
  • It is currently unknown how long it remains contagious after symptoms subside.
  • Children and immunocompromised people are the most vulnerable to infection.
  • The smallpox vaccine is 85% effective for hMPXV.
  • People younger than 40-50 are less likely to have had a smallpox vaccine (85% effective for hMPXV), and are therefore at higher risk.
  • There is a 3-6% death rate in recent cases.
  • Ideally, it is diagnosed with a PCR test of skin lesions, to rule out other diseases.
  • Currently, treatments are not widely available. Maintaining adequate nutrition through hydration and food can help. Secondary bacterial infections should be treated as indicated.

Summary:

hMPXV (aka monkeypox)  is airborne.

Please wear a KN95, N95, KF94, or equivalent high-quality mask!

It was first discovered in 1958. Western countries did not care until 2022.

You must quarantine for 2-4 weeks if you show symptoms.

Fuck the CDC, white supremacy, & capitalism.


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Sources:

Clinical Characteristics of Human Monkeypox, and Risk Factors for Severe Disease (Study, 2005) https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/41/12/1742/344953

A review of experimental and natural infections of animals with monkeypox virus between 1958 and 2012https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3635111/

Air and surface sampling for monkeypox virus in UK hospitals (Study, in pre-print, 2022) https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.07.21.22277864v1

Tweet by Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, M.D., M.Sc., DTM&H, Ph.D., Cameroonian-born physician and clinical researcher (July 30th, 2022) https://twitter.com/Boghuma/status/1553339191945216001

Youth who died in Kerala’s Thrissur succumbed to monkeypox, says health dept after NIV confirms (August 2nd, 2022)https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/thiruvananthapuram/kerala-thrissur-monkeypox-death-8063699/ (Nota bene: This source has other articles about hMPXV that have disinformation, including claims that it may be a sexually transmitted infection (it's not) and that it infects men at a higher rate (it doesn't).)

Monkeypox complications more common in children: Lancet study (August 10th, 2022) https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/monkeypox-more-frequent-in-children-and-people-who-are-immunocompromised-lancet-study/article65750665.ece

World Health Organization: Monkeypox fact sheet https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox

Monkeypox — English Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkeypox


Disclaimer: I am not a medical or public health professional. I am not liable for any decisions, or the results of those decisions, that anybody makes based on this information.

A previous version of this article stated that "The 2022 cases were the first reported human-to-human transmissions." The source we used had inconsistent information about the history of human-to-human transmission. We apologize for the error.


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